2017 Sundance Docs in Focus: 18 BLACK GIRLS / BOYS AGES 1-18 WHO HAVE ARRIVED AT THE SINGULARITY AND ARE THUS SPIRITUAL MACHINES: $X IN AN EDITION OF $97 QUADRILLION

18 black girls / boys18 BLACK GIRLS / BOYS AGES 1-18 WHO HAVE ARRIVED AT THE SINGULARITY AND ARE THUS SPIRITUAL MACHINES: $X IN AN EDITION OF $97 QUADRILLION
Terence Nance reveals society’s race-related associations in this performance-based project.

Festival Section:
New Frontier

Sundance Program Description:

In this pair of live performances, Nance googles the phrase “one-year-old black boy” and “one-year-old black girl,” ascending in age to 18, and allows Google’s “popular searches” algorithm to populate what words will follow. He then peruses the results based on what Google assumes a search for a black boy or girl is.

As with each gaze into the mirror, each performance is unique, and the results are surprising, sobering, and often provocative. The liveness and sequential nature of the performances both parallels and simulates the experience of observing somebody age over time. The degree to which small differences in search terms result in radically different results and attitudes exposes the precarious position that black children find themselves in throughout their lives. As the searches progress in age, the viewer bears witness to the shifting attitudes towards black children of different ages and the increasing degree to which criminal behavior is attached to the search terms.

Some Background:
Director/Screenwriter:

  • Terence Nance
    Past Sundance work:

    SWIMMING IN YOUR SKIN AGAIN (2016, experimental short)
    AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF HER BEAUTY (2012, hybrid feature)

    Nance also works in music as Terence Etc and was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2014. In addition to Sundance, his projects have screened at Rotterdam, the New York Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, and LA’s MoCA.

Producer:

  • Naima Ramos-Chapman
    This marks Ramos-Chapman’s first Sundance credit. She is an interdisciplinary filmmaker whose previous work has included short films and collaborations with MacArthur Genius choreographer Kyle Abraham.

Executive Producer:

  • Chanelle Aponte Pearson
    Past Sundance work:

    AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF HER BEAUTY (producer/actress)

    Pearson is a visual artist and filmmaker whose other work has screened at Rotterdam and BlackStar. She is the COO of the filmmaking collective/production company MVMT, through which Nance makes his films.

Why You Should Watch:
Nance’s project – a live documentary/performance piece rather than the typical kind of documentary projects w(n)td covers – speaks to popular preconceptions of race, age, behavior, interests, and, sadly, criminality – stereotypes encouraged by the shield of anonymity provided by the Internet.

More Info:
Artist Website
Artist Facebook

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance 2017 Twitter list.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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