Question Bridge: Black Males
An exciting possibility in New Frontier storytelling is gaining a better understanding of our shared reality—aka “truth.” One person’s story is true, but it’s only a piece of the whole. Without their story, “truth” cannot be understood; and with only their story, “truth” cannot be understood. So, to better understand “truth,” we need everyone’s story.
Each advancement in communication technology has given us access to more stories from more diverse points of view. The printing press, radio, film and television have all allowed us to discover more pieces of “truth” and broadened our understanding of the world. However, this past decade has dwarfed the progress made in previous technological shifts.
“Participatory storytelling gets us closer to the truth…. the global perspective wasn’t even possible before this technology. Old technology couldn’t hold this many perspectives in one story before.” – Sarah Wolozin, MIT Open Docs Lab
The convergence of broad access to technology, a robust social media culture, and data intelligence tools has allowed us to create storytelling platforms that not only collect huge databases of stories from a diversity of people, but provide elegant tools to understand how these stories come together to tell humanity’s complex story in a simple way.
Sundance institute’s New Frontier program supports one creative collective innovating on the work of artists like Katerina Cizek (Highrise), Jonathan Harris (We Feel Fine & Cowbird ), Aaron Koblin (Flight Patterns ) and Ed Tuft (data visualization artist) to find the “truth” of Black Men in America.
Question Bridge: Black Males is an innovative transmedia art project that uses technology to reveal the true complexity, diversity, and humanity within an identity group. It uses media to facilitate a dialogue between a critical mass of Black men from diverse and contending backgrounds, and creates an interactive platform for them to represent and redefine Black male identity.
My entrance into Sundance Institute’s creative community was not as the manager for New Frontier’s Story Lab, but as an artist and producer on the Question Bridge project. Sundance Institute cultivated our project at the 2011 New Frontier Story Lab and featured it in the 2012 Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier exhibition. I experienced, firsthand, the incredible value that the New Frontier program provides to this kind of ambitious work. Since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, the Question Bridge video art installation has traveled to more than 16 cities, catalyzed robust community dialogues, and stimulated a lot of demand for the Question Bridge Curriculum.
So far, the project has impacted the perspective of hundreds of thousands of people on the reality of Black men. This year we are expanding the project’s reach by building an interactive platform and launching a national digital campaign to impact the perspective of millions!