Series Description

 
Video Art and Mass Incarceration Part II
Programmed by Zach Vanes | TRT 01:16:37 | 2014
Natural Life
Video Details
Tirtza Even | 2014 | 01:16:37 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

A feature-length experimental documentary challenging inequities in the U.S. juvenile justice system.

 

Close Details
Natural Life
Video Details
Tirtza Even | 2014 | 01:16:37 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

A feature-length experimental documentary challenging inequities in the U.S. juvenile justice system.

 

Close Details

The second part of the series features Tirtza Even's Natural Life (2014). This experimental documentary focuses on five individuals who were sentenced to Life Without Parole (Natural Life) for crimes they committed as youths. Tirtza Even is a video artist and documentary filmmaker who teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has screened internationally at film festivals and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Biennial, and the Johannesburg Biennial. In Natural Life, Even uses reenactments, a dual-channel structure, and phone interviews with incarcerated people, to show the heartbreaking consequences of legislation that allows children to be charged as adults in a system that disproportionately targets people of color.

Following recent tumultuous events, media outlets and commentators have highlighted how the police, for over a hundred years, have been a continual source of racially-biased injustice and oppression; but so far there has been relative silence on the same disastrous principles within the prison system, even as white supremacy has left incarcerated people particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. As Angela Davis writes, “On the whole, people tend to take prisons for granted. It is difficult to imagine life without them. At the same time, there is a reluctance to face the realities hidden within them, a fear of thinking about what happens inside them.” The Video Art and Mass Incarceration series presents a selection of artist-made videos that face head-on the reality of the United States prison system, and recognize the lives that exist within it.

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Natural Life is a feature-length experimental documentary challenging inequities in the U.S. juvenile justice system by depicting, through documentation and reenactment, the stories of five individuals who were sentenced to Life Without Parole (Natural Life) for crimes they committed as youth.

The youthful status and/or lesser culpability of these youths, their backgrounds, and their potential for rehabilitation were not taken into account at any point in the charging and sentencing process. The five will never be evaluated for change, difference or growth. They will remain in prison till they die.