This story is about an America I see.
As many of us today, I have been grappling to understand many of the social issues that our society faces: mass shootings, police brutality, immigration bans, and an increase in suicide rates among others. This project began as a reflection of this peculiar time we live in, one filled with rife social activism and pervasive online communities yet dominated by a generation that appears apathetic and even more disconnected from one another than before. I aim to explore what appears a precondition to many of these issues found within modern American society:
the inability to connect.
In breaking down this phenomenon, I find it vital to reflect and examine the different ways in which we prioritize our individual selves above all else, and the consequent inability, fear, and assumed threat of acknowledging another’s humanity. Nowhere is this more apparent than in face of “the other”. I tell this story to question our individual and collective priorities, and explore how this shared system of values can ultimately lead to dire consequences.
The narrative structures, events, and characters reflected in this world each came from my own lived experiences. Each character represents a precise and uncomfortable depiction of a kind of American today. The modern day yogi focused on self-wellness to a crippling degree. The pseudo social media activist, more obsessed with altruistic self-portrayal than the causes she defends. The first generation American willing to abandon his self for an “American” community that does not exist. The young binge-drinkers who only know connection in the form of disconnection. All these characters are bound by their desire to be seen, yet blinded and divided by it, unable to look into the eyes of another.
In the world, as in people, there simultaneously exists beauty and suffering. I aim to reflect the pain to deconstruct it, make it something tangible so it can be grasped and alleviated, but also to present the beautiful, to touch the spirit and remind us of the humanity we often forget. It is important to reflect the time and society we live in, especially when it appears to be crying out in pain.
This story was made to create a confrontation with this truth.