"Black Box" is a mixed media piece about the current conversation around police, violence and race made by Jenn de la Vega, Dr. Yohance Murray of Morehouse College, Yue Liu, and myself. 

We took the idea of camera phones as citizen journalism and flipped it: the media story within the box can only be captured and seen with your phone-- much like after a plane disaster, we look to the black box for truth.

Upon entering the room, you heard and saw a visualization of John Coltrane's "Alabama." However, an XBOX Kinect triggers actual camera phone audio from police incidents as you place your phone into the box, creating new and confrontational context to this well known protest song. This project was made as a part of the ITP Innovation Lab, which explored the intersection of exhibits, museums and public spaces. To push the boundaries of where stories and information are experienced. To ask how might people engage with content and each other in new and different ways.

Each week, participants worked with leading thinkers and practitioners in fields of exhibit design, media, technology and beyond. Through open-ended design challenges, studio-style collaboration and rapid prototyping, the Lab is dedicated to wild ideas, hands-on thinking and play… with an eye toward real world possibilities and applications.

The Black Box was developed in the Hi-Fo/Lo-fi studio under the guidance of Harald Haraldsson. Participants had to implement both high and low fidelity technology to solve the problem.

 

The final design challenge for the lab came from Morehouse College. 

"Morehouse seeks to have an interactive exhibit that it can use for three audience in three kinds of venues. Ideally this would be one exhibit flexible enough to accommodate each audience and each venue. They are college-going, African-American young men, between the ages of 16 and 24; residents of large city communities often with tensions around race and policing; and faculty of colleges and universities.

Our hope is that we will inspire an interactive work that pulls a person into the discourse in a way that gives them something from which to grow, but also makes the work stronger by taking something from the person engaging."

 

 

Exhibitions

  • July 2015  - ITP Innovation Lab at NYU
  • October 2015 - Art from the Heart at Vanderbilt Republic
 I've lightened the image, usually the room is much darker for installations. 

I've lightened the image, usually the room is much darker for installations. 

  Gif of what is shown inside the box- images from cellphone footage and historical protests with construction paper cut outs taken from headlines and stills from Eric Garner's murder.

Gif of what is shown inside the box- images from cellphone footage and historical protests with construction paper cut outs taken from headlines and stills from Eric Garner's murder.

  Jenn de la Vega checking out the inside of our box.

Jenn de la Vega checking out the inside of our box.

 Notes and post its on the Civil Rights movement that provided inspiration for our game. 

Notes and post its on the Civil Rights movement that provided inspiration for our game. 

 Our team at work. 

Our team at work.