Reasonable Resolution       Single channel video     17.21 min.      2016
On November 24, 2014, after three months of testimony, a grand jury found there was insufficient evidence to indict officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown, setting off another round of riots and protests in Ferguson, Missouri.  With Reasonable Resolution I was interested in looking at the contrasts between the intensely emotional rhetoric and often violent reactions occurring outside the courthouse and a bureaucratic grand jury process designed specifically to ferret out factual truth by systematic emotional detachment.   The video presents "hot" scenes of the Ferguson riots and Black Lives Matter protests alternating with a "cool" split screen footage that I came to call the "slow burn". On the left of this composite image is a graceful plume of fireless smoke.  On the right are gently floating ashes.  In the middle is a barred window partially covered with plastic that "breathes" with each change of winds and atmospheric pressure.  All of the dialogue is taken directly, word-for-word from the grand jury transcript of witness testimony and of the assistant prosecuting attorneys pursuing the indictment.   


After reading just under 5,000 pages of testimony, I definitely have an opinion about whether the facts indicate if Darren Wilson should have stood trial for the death of Michael Brown. However, my position is not explicit in the video and I won't state it here either because whatever the truths there may be in this case, the real impact  and  my interest lie not in the facts but rather in the stories of justice and injustice that we believe and that we tell each other. I'm interested in the ways we shape narratives and mold facts to conform to our emotional truths. Reasonable Resolution attempts to play the large cultural stories and media hype off of the small, individual, and idiosyncratic stories of those closely associated with the case.

I'm not entirely sure wether the title is ironic or not. I suppose that ultimately is, because there is no satisfactory resolution in sight to issues of violence, systematic racism, and police abuse of power. I adopted the title based a quote from District Court Judge Catherine Perry who brokered the agreement between the US Justice Department and the city of Ferguson.  She described the settlement, that calls for sweeping reforms, training and oversight of the police force as a, "...reasonable resolution that will avoid years of costly litigation..."  If by "reasonable" we simply mean that this is the best that could be hoped for under the circumstances, then perhaps there is no irony.  But if by "reasonable" we mean to think and understand by a process of logic, then reason has absolutely nothing to do with any of it.

Credits:
Post production, video & audio editing- Michael Arrigo
Voice talent- Melinda Arrigo, Tallula Arrigo, Michael Arrigo
Music: Marching Forward & Seismic Lounge composed & preformed by Michael Arrigo
Video footage-       
Washington DC by Gary Hess
#icant breathe shutdown by Sandi Bachom
#ferguson by Casey Neistat
No Indictment: Furguson Reacts by CNN
Furguson Weeps, Then Burns by NY Times (Brent McDonald & Ben Laffin)



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