DocLab Shorts 24 Nov at 19:45
A program of short stories that would never have existed without the internet.
A serene photo and video portrait of the predominantly African American residents of a housing project in South Los Angeles.
Imperial Courts is the name of a social housing project in the Watts neighborhood of South Los Angeles. The majority of its residents are black Americans. In 1993, just a year after the Rodney King riots raged there, Dutch photographer Dana Lixenberg went to Imperial Courts to take a series of black-and-white portraits. Fifteen years later, she went back to photograph the local people again, and she has been returning yearly ever since. This web documentary takes you into “the projects” to encounter the residents through Lixenberg’s lens. The portraits she took over the course of many years are linked to one another, allowing the user to, for example, browse from an old photo of Tanya K. to far more recent pictures of her, her grandson and her now-adult sons. Her son Floss is a poet, and he pops up again in one of the videos in the section titled “Stories.” Here you can thumb through several pictorial narratives, subdivided into subjects such as “Spoken Word,” “Growing Up in the Courts” and “R.I.P.,” to which residents contribute their own images as well. Lixenberg maintains a distance by always shooting in the public space – the uniform, blue-green low-rise buildings are a recurring motif in her tightly-framed shots, in which a lingering tension is always palpable.
Selected for IDFA 2015 and eligible for the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling and the IDFA DocLab Award for Immersive Non-Fiction.
Presented as part of the DocLab: Seamless Reality program by IDFA and De Brakke Grond as an interactive installation from 19-29 November.