His work builds dialogues around stereotypical images of African Americans that the media seek to exploit in adver- tising, film and television.
Thomas and his collaborators traveled across the United States, recording questions from nearly 160 men, bring- ing the questions to others to answer, and filming additional questions from those respond- ents that other participants, in turn, could later address. The project enables a large group of men to speak to each other across geographic, economic, political, and generational di- visions.
The single-channel projection creates the sensation of a vir- tual conversation, with partic- ipants speaking across time and distance, and from their own lived experience. Their voices are key: being heard, not just seen, reaffirms each man’s subjectivity and coun- teracts dangerous generaliza- tions about group identity. In Thomas’s human-centered art, the elementary call to hear and see one another—to recognize each other as unique yet inter- dependent human beings—is undeniably necessary to over- come racism.