About Looking at Los Sures

In 1984, South Williamsburg had been called the worst ghetto in America. It was largely Puerto Rican and Dominican, one of the poorest neighborhoods in New York City, troubled by drugs and violence, and badly under-served by local government. Los Sures, a film made by Diego Echeverria skillfully presents the challenges of that time while also showing a community that is connected, coherent and full of culture.

With Living Los Sures, South Williamsburg-based documentary arts center, UnionDocs, will partner with Echeverria to revisit his powerful film, making it accessible online for the first time, and creating a constellation of companion documentaries and interactive projects that update, annotate, challenge, and spiral off from the original. These collaborative works by over 30 selected artists seek not just to extract important stories from the place, but to create new shared histories, to deeply enhance local awareness, respect, and tolerance, and to facilitate relationships between neighbors. Some projects prompt local participation, and others invent new ways of experiencing the place.

Thus, Living Los Sures hopes to develop a broad MAAP, short-hand for a Multi-Author Place, Media, and Art Project. In a sense, it will be documentary storytelling as a platform for neighborhood celebration, an effort that doesn’t simply identify social problems but actively endeavors to create the personal connections and mutual understandings that can jump-start solutions. To do this, UnionDocs will utilize its proven collaborative process, its expansive approach to documentary art (utilizing film/video, radio, photography, performance, interactive and locative media), its expert staff, directors, and instructors, its talented artist fellows from diverse backgrounds, and an innovative HTML 5 platform.

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