Thursday, September 19, 2013
Bayette Ross Smith and Question Bridge
Question Bridge: Black Males - Project Trailer from Question Bridge on Vimeo.
Transmedia artist Bayette Ross Smith will be presenting his transmedia project Question Bridge in class today. Question Bridge is a transmedia art project that seeks to represent and redefine Black male identity in America. Through video mediated question and answer exchange, diverse members of this "demographic" bridge economic, political, geographic, and generational divisions.
Here is the artist statement about Question Bridge:
Black Males is a project that critically explores challenging issues within the Black male community by instigating a transmedia conversation among black men across the geographic, economic, generational, educational and social strata of American society. Question Bridge provides a safe setting for necessary, honest expression and healing dialogue on themes that divide, unite and puzzle black males in the United States. Question Bridge originated in 1996, when artist Chris Johnson was looking for a way to use media art to generate a meaningful conversation around class and generational divisions within San Diego’s African American community. Mediated through the lens of a video camera, ten members of the black community were given a format to openly express their deeply felt beliefs and values through candid question and answer exchanges. None of the questions or answers were prompted. A decade later, Hank Willis Thomas approached Johnson about collaborating to establish a similar project focused on Black men. Over the past four years, Johnson, along with Hank Willis Thomas, Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair, have traveled the nation collecting questions and answers from over 150 Black men in eleven cities including: New York, Chicago, Oakland, San Francisco, Birmingham, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. The resulting video project contains of over 1,500 exchanges. By focusing on exchanges within this extended community, surprising insights and new possibilities for witnessing our common humanity emerge.