Hassen Saker is a transmedia creator, working in texts, audio, photography, film, ephemeral acts, and performance.
Her written works have been published in various magazines and small presses. Chapbooks include Salem (Belladona*), Crabapples (Furniture Press), Sky Journal from Land, Sky Journal from Sea, Sky Journal from Sky. Her first poetry collection, the triptych Sky Journal, was published in a single volume from Dusie Press in 2014. Her book of microsnark poems, Consolation Snacks, was published with Furniture Press in 2017 and she has a forthcoming book from Least Weasel.
Saker’s art film installations have been featured online, in public art spaces/shows, and have been performed in various venues. In 2011, she conceived, produced, directed and edited a feature-length private documentary and is currently in production of its public version, Dog Feed Dog. She is a media collaborator on projects with Natalie Jeremijenko of the xDesign Environmental Health Clinic at NYU. She also founded the social media/channel, VolkLibre, a community of artist-activists, for which she directed & produced Heroes, a series of short video interviews with sustainability role models. Saker served for four years on Executive Committee for the Board of Directors of Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Association.
Additionally, Saker is a green business owner. Committed to the values of small independent business & ecology, she was a director of the Board for the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia . She occasionally posts to her eco-advice blog, Dear Hippie.
As a documentary filmmaker, I’m interested in creatively sharing stories that inspire people to change things that could stand to be changed. My role as a transmedia* creator, however, is basically for personal gratification/purpose. &, referencing Louise Bourgeois, for sanity.
The original writing projects often span years as I research & develop while producing texts. The transmedia work is usually aspects of that development process. Many of these works emerge from a larger experimental novel project I’ve been cultivating for over 20 years – a parallel story told by life-long characters in texts, images, sound, ephemeral actions, and performance.
My creative process throughout all of my work is essentially sourced from the deeply feminine – that is, the intuitive, nurturing, formidable, nature-centric utility & beauty in interconnected embodiment. I care about presence & insight, transcendence, the profane, the funk, the sublime, the lush, the cinematic.
Thematically, I gravitate toward delectable sciences and la condition humaine, often with a wink to absurd theatre (see italics above) but also scratching [at] some truth, &, being mammalian, at intimacy. Playing with syntax & familiar imagery, my conscious effort addresses mood. It also attempts a fresh[ening] language, not to alienate but to invite an audience to perhaps re/approach an idea.
Usually I find that my favorite works of art are those that allow the artist herself growth as much as they might inspire an audience toward an internal transformation. This is likely the primary aspiration with my work. However, as a creative, I am most often overtaken with compulsion & the sheer gratification of the process. I only hope that my readers/viewers find the experience fun in the more cosmic sense of the word.
*Transmedia is essentially the use of various art forms as optional ways into a story or idea (immersion). One could also see them as projects that are essentially variations on a theme – but expressed across interdisciplinary or multimedia arts rather than within one medium.
““biology’s hopefulness / tissue’s patience” writes hassen in her wonderful Sky Journal. those seem like words Thoreau could’ve written, because the observation is keen and exacting. not that hassen’s cart needs to be tied to Thoreau’s horse, I just find the resonance comely. I like how, in the poetry hassen writes, the writer largely disappears into words in motion, and the motions seem fresh with currents, breezes and eddies. something very tender survives that disappearance, tender and brave. hassen’s poetry touches warmly, gives, hints, engages and stays grounded. it mediates and meditates with a resource of delight and integrity. I definitely like and admire this poetry.” ~ Allen Bramhall
“in sky journal: from land, hassen writes, “to measure/ electricity of transformation,” and this feels like a voicing of this phenomena apparent in her work. things are changing, both words and images, and it is vibrant, trustworthy, rather than jarring. in [salem’s] “tonight,” she writes, “is this/ meditation or do you study your own images in me.” and, again, the reader or listener is brought into a visual language, a language that is both “radically artistic,” fluid, “and perhaps even transcendental.” i heard hassen read her work out loud months before i ever saw it on the page. a lot of the time when i enjoy work read aloud, i often do not like it on the page. but hassen’s balance between the tangible and the abstract, the verbal and the visual, makes for a poetics that maintains its omnipotence both out loud and on the page.” ~ Erica Kaufman
“[sky journal – from sea] is an intricate and enigmatic work that juxtaposes, sometimes paralogically, degrees of solidity, qualities of light and color, and spectra of emotion. In it, there are “hundreds of miles of solid sky,” “phosphorous things” and “succulent thought,” “ethereal invertebrates,” and “a rock I’ve loved” not too far from an “anemone.” In it, “crystal dendrites prepare to melt.” It calls stars both “breathing holes” and “branding irons.” It calls into being “particles reflecting the senses maybe dark matter also…” … I daresay it’s a work of physics…Listeners, please welcome the intensely focused fluid energy and three dimensional perspicacious magnifying glass that is hassen.” ~ Nada Gordon
An interview with Manufactured Dissent from 2011