Hank Willis Thomas
Video project

Question Bridge: Black Males is an innovative transmedia art project that aims to create a platform to represent and re- define black male identity. His work builds dialogues around stereotypical images of African Americans that the media seek to exploit in advertising, film and television. Thomas and his collaborators traveled across the United States, recording questions from nearly 160 men, bringing the questions to others to answer, and filming additional questions from those respondents 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 divisions. The single-channel projection creates the sensation of a virtual conversation, with participants 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 counteracts dangerous generalizations 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.

About the artist

Hank Willis Thomas. Born in 1976, Plainfield, NJ. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad including the International Center of Photography, New York; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain; Musée du quai Branly, Paris; Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Netherlands. His collaborative projects include Question Bridge: Black Males, In Search Of The Truth (The Truth Booth), The Writing on the Wall, and For Freedoms. In 2017, For Freedoms was awarded the ICP Infinity Award for New Media and Online Platform.

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Courtesy: the artist, Chris Johnson, Bayete Ross, Kamal Sinclair.