RUN OF LIFE Experimental
Monday, November 23, 7 pm, $10
Constellation, 3111 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL
Purchase tickets here.
NATURAL LIFE by Tirtza Even
(2013, 77 min, video)
Preceded by a demo of the interactive online version of the project led by Tirtza Even
NATURAL LIFE is a threefold experimental documentary comprised of a 77-minute, single-channel video, a gallery installation and an interactive online archive. The piece challenges inequities in the U.S. juvenile justice system by depicting, through documentation and reenactment, the stories of five individuals of different age, gender, economic background and race, who were sentenced to Life Without Parole (Natural Life) for crimes they committed as youth. The youthful status and/or lesser culpability of these youths, their background and their potential for rehabilitation, were not taken into account at any point in the charging and sentencing process. The five will never be evaluated for change, difference or growth. They will remain in prison till they die.
There are over 2500 inmates in the U.S. who are serving a Life Without Parole sentence for a crime they committed as juveniles. The U.S. is the only country in the world that allows Life Without Parole sentencing for youth.
The project’s goal is to portray the ripple-effect that the sentence has had not only on the incarcerated youth and their victims, but also on the community at large. More than fifty hours of interviews with individuals who were involved with the crime, the arrest and the sentencing of the featured inmates were recorded. Among them judges, lawyers, police officers, reporters, wardens, teachers, child psychiatrists, legal experts and victims’ family members.
The interviews were coupled with staged scenes from court and from the main characters’ crime setting, as well as with detailed images of life in prison, reenacted by a group of high-school actors, and shot at an abandoned prison in Michigan
Tirtza Even has been a practicing video artist and documentary maker for the past fifteen years. She has produced both linear and interactive video work representing the less overt manifestations of complex and sometimes extreme social/political dynamics in specific locations (e.g. Palestine, Turkey, Spain, the U.S. and Germany, among others). Her work has appeared at the Museum of Modern Art, NY, at the Whitney Biennial, the Johannesburg Biennial, as well as in many other festivals, galleries and museums in the United States, Israel and Europe, and has been purchased for the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (NY), the Jewish Museum (NY), the Israel Museum (Jerusalem), among others. She has been an invited guest and featured speaker at numerous conferences and university programs, including the Whitney Museum Seminar series, the Digital Flaherty Seminar, Art Pace annual panel, ACM Multimedia, The Performance Studies International conference (PSI), The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts conference (SLSA) and others.
RUN OF LIFE is a collectively curated experimental documentary and expanded media series held at Constellation every third Monday of the month. The series pairs a recent feature experimental documentary with a short nonfiction work in any number of mediums – performance, video short, interactive presentation, audio doc, etc. At each event, a post screening Q&A will be moderated by either a local expert engaged in the movie’s subject matter or an artist involved in the making of the work. RUN OF LIFE seeks to join experimental and documentary media audiences while exploring emerging tactics within representations of reality; the empathetic connection that is built through sensory experience rather than factual arguments; and aesthetic shifts in documentary that come with the breakdown of the fourth wall. RUN OF LIFE is programmed by Jillian Hansen-Lewis, Sally Lawton, Christy LeMaster, Jenny Miller, & Beckie Stocchetti and presented by Constellation Chicago in collaboration with the Nightingale Cinema.
Programmed by Beckie Stocchetti
Filed under: artist in attendance, documentary, experimental, video