Crystal Z Campbell

2010 | 00:05:10 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 4:3 | Film

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Death and Dying, Race, Surveillance

Witness is a perceptual meditation on police brutality—specifically a power dynamic that law enforcement has coined “suicide by cop.” Filmed in Iceland on 8mm film, the film hinges on archival audio—unfolding in real time—of a young Black man negotiating his life with the police out of frame. Repeatedly asking for the camera, he foreshadows the camera as a potential witness in his final moments, appearing hyperaware of the possibility of being erased or silenced from history. The viral internet circulation of the video is a post-mortem extension of his agency, leaking evidence while challenging the politics of witnessing and surveilling, and interrogating the blind spots of carceral justice on a public platform.

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Cal State - Long Beach
Long Beach, CA

Exhibitions + Festivals

Semana de Cinema Negro, Belo Horizonte, BR 2023 

National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC 2022 

Crystal Z Campbell: from the corner of my eye, Hartnett Gallery, Rochester, NY 2021 

An Ordinary Day Film Festival, Galleri Studio 44, Stockholm, SE 2019 

Biomythography: Secret Poetry and Hidden Angers, The William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art, California Lutheran University, Curated by Chris Christion and Jessica Wimbley, Thousand Oaks, CA 2015 (installation) 

Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY 2015 

The Situation Room, Los Angeles, CA, 2015 

Gettin' Off the Ground, curated by Isabelle Lutterodt, Angels Gate Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA 2015 

Whitney Independent Study Program Exhibition, 2011  

Rutgers University, Mason Gross Gallery, NJ 2011 Cal State Long Beach, Long Beach, CA 2010