A New Project . . . For Everyone

In We.Are.America(2012) on October 20, 2011 at 9:03 pm

In addition to dipping my toe back into the world of writing, I’m also opening up my creativity to an idea that’s been fluttering about my head for the past six months.

Rather than go into too much detail with my usual blogworthy ramblings, I think I will just let the pitch speak for itself.

It is all in the preliminary stages now, but if you find it at all interesting, please click here to view the PDF including instructions for how to get involved yourself.

We the People
A video installation and online mosaic of American society

As an avid traveler, I am often questioned about what it means to be an American. Sometimes there is a positive connotation, insinuating that it must be simply awesome, an adjective we Americans are known for using a lot. Sometimes there is a negative angle to the question, implying that I should show a bit of shame coming from the country known for being power hungry and creating Jersey Shore. Regardless I always struggle to find an answer that encompasses all that America, as a land, a people and a part of the global community, represents.

Between World War I and World War II, photographer August Sander attempted to answer a similar question for the German people. His 150 photographs now travel from museum to museum and are displayed as People of the Twentieth Century, a methodically collected assortment of portraits from all levels and occupations in society. Though admittedly flawed in a number of ways, Sander’s collection is still critically acclaimed as one of the best representations of a society at a specific time.

Like Sander, I want to create a “social mosaic”, a collection that can be used as a way to observe American society in a time driven by rapid change within the borders of our own country as well as around the world.

Today, I have the advantage of modern technology, specifically video, the Internet, and social networks. So rather than handpick a cross section of people to represent our culture. I plan to open this project to general submissions and collect short statements from as many people as possible. This will be a work not created by me. It will be created by those who submit their statements. I’m simply doing the organizing.

In the preliminary stages now, my intent is to start soliciting submissions as a way to gauge interest and explore how to best logistically manage this project.

I appreciate any suggestions and input. In addition, I look forward to receiving your own submission of a statement.

  1. John and I got your note and we plan to participate and send a video. I have some other folks I will ask as well and I have posted you to my twitter.

    • Thanks so much Martha! I’m getting quite a bit of legwork done on the first bits of the project. So once I get the first submissions, I’ll be ready to edit and launch the site by 1 Jan 2012 xx

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