Be Alarmed: The Black Americana Epic

Be Alarmed: The Black Americana Epic is a film developed in four parts, consisting of a series of nonlinear trailers, scenes, and objects that explore how memory and biography take shape across form, time, and narrative construction. Rendering new interpretations of cinematic visual and material cultures. Be Alarmed includes an arc of contemporary Black ephemera assembled from my family history and traceable through landscapes of resistance, labor and cultural production across the Black American experience. Demonstrating how active (re)memory, myth, and nostalgia are to our documentation of family and ancestors, the visual and sculptural aids within this project are evidence of the spiritual technologies of Black survival. 

Be Alarmed is situated within the genre of an epic film, which emphasizes human drama on a grand scale and is often set during a time of societal crisis, spanning a long range of time. Be Alarmed is a deconstruction and exploration of this form citing key elements of my personal familial history in America from the 1930s to the present day. With each movement within the series to accompany the time-based images, I have also created a series of sculptures and artifacts that are situated within the narrative of the film, creating my own Black Americana in the form of sculptural objects that also serve as extensions of the films overall narrative. With each object, there is an integral sentimental value embedded due to their relationship and use within the film. I am also taking a look at the idea and genre of an epic film and what that looks like if deconstructed to represent a larger work through the use of the shorter film sequence format.

Written by Tiona Nekkia McClodden + Curator Ladi'Sasha Jones

Using Format