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Extension - FILM AS RESEARCH INTO COMPLEX SYSTEMS

Sons and Daughters of the Incarcerated is part of an extended project to utilize the perspective of children affected by the criminal justice system to study and report on the problem of mass-incarceration and present specific insights towards its eradication. 


Mass-incarceration and racial-injustice are complex systems; driven by perception, narrative, and deep historical, cultural, individual, and economic motivations. The study of complex systems like these is dominated by sciences such as economics. But data-centered solutions are insufficient. Artists have a unique literacy in the irrational and the complex: to us it is called narrative. Filmmaking could be seen as a rigorous process of inquiry, discovery, and iteration – a kind of creative hypothesis, experimentation, observation, and revision, which results in deep learning for the practitioner. Through this understanding, filmmakers have a unique role in the study of the perceptions of participants in complex, human-centered systems - like mass-incarceration - and potentially a position to help design humane interventions that can reshape those systems. 


Congruent to the development of a traditional, narratively distilled film which will follow traditional distribution and impact paths, we will continue to add layers of feedback by turning the camera around and giving the role of inquirer to the children, conducting interviews with those involved in the film process contextually and behind the scenes in order to explore the effects of the film itself as an intervention. This supplementary footage will be developed into an interactive, digital space as an extension of the film process, available to be used by those with a vested interest in resolving the crisis of mass-incarceration.