Looking at Los Sures: A Preview of the 2011 UnionDocs Collaborative Project
In the late seventies and early eighties, South Williamsburg was one of the poorest neighborhoods in New York City. Largely Puerto Rican and Dominican, it was troubled by drugs and violence, full of abandoned real estate, and badly under-served. Los Sures, a documentary from 1984 by Diego Echeverria, skillfully represents the challenges of this time, while also celebrating a community that was connected, coherent and full of culture.
For the past year, documentary artists in the Collaborative Program have taken this now-undistributed film as a starting point, treating it as an archival document, experimenting with different ways to explore the immediate neighborhood which UnionDocs has been part of since 2005.. Ultimately, the group is creating a constellation of new projects that annotate, challenge, update and spiral off from the original film.
Questions arise: From one of the worst ghettos in America to what? How do we understand and represent the unique stories of a specific place? How can we capture the diversity contained in a square mile of Brooklyn blocks? As the globe becomes increasingly urban, and local identity becomes increasingly fractured and contentious, UnionDocs proposes that place-based storytelling includes multiple voices, multiple layers on a deep map, and multiple pathways for an audience to discover.
This special preview event will include an outdoor screening of a selection of these projects along with live performative elements and a gallery installation. It provides an early look at a broad-scale project that will be developed over three year-long cycles with three different collections of artists. Plans anticipate an iterative release of the project in the form of a multi-faceted interactive documentary, to culminate in late 2014, exactly thirty years after the release of Echeverria's original film.
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