Often taking the inspiration for her stories from actual news articles, television documentaries, and urban legends, each of Saskia Olde Wolbers films narrate fictional biographies into complex backgrounds of global politics, neuroses, and contemporary mythology. Loosely based on the real life story of a man who convinced his family he was a doctor for over 20 years, Olde Wolbers’s Placebo and Interloper videos explore the dynamic of relationships, identity construction, and co-dependence.
Set in a hospital after a car crash (a failed murder-suicide attempt), Interloper tells the story of a troubled love affair from the man’s perspective. As he has an out of body experience on the operating table, he narrates his version of events, with fact and fiction unravelling in a chilling stream of consciousness, revealing the horrors of wilful deception, mental illness, self-delusion, and medical experimentation.
Presented in the format of documentaries, Olde Wolbers edits sequential images to support a voice-over. Her work often attains a science-fiction aesthetic, which replicates the surreal quality of dreams. Olde Wolbers doesn’t use computer animation to create her futuristic images, however. Intricately constructing each set by hand – a process which can take years – Olde Wolbers develops each environment in miniature in her studio. In Interloper, the hospital is actually a modified cage submerged inside a fish tank; the lava-like effect was achieved through a similarly lo-fi process, asserting the veritas of film over digital illusion.