Project Description, as of December 16, 2013
Despite the complexities and varied nuances of human sexuality, people in the Western world frequently use only a handful of simple categories to define their sexual identities, the most common being straight, gay, lesbian, and bisexual. Sexual orientation descriptors are useful for communicating identities with ease and simplicity and building communities and connections between people who have similar life experiences.
The problem is these words often oversimplify identity, and the individuals who claim such words as identifiers often forget that the labels they use do not have singular and universal meanings and connotations. The limitations of sexual identity labels are frequently discussed and analyzed by queer theorists and linguistic experts, but rarely by non-academics who are simply attempting to communicate their lives and experiences to the outside world. Therefore, there is a need for a way for people who live and work outside of the confines of academia to engage in conversations about the language they use to describe their sexual identities and the limitations therein.
Greyscale will be an interactive documentary that deconstructs the complexities of sexuality and language. I will create a viewing experience that actively engages its audience and asks viewers to consider the words they use to describe their sexual identities along with the limitations and freedoms those words provide.
The purpose of Greyscale is twofold:
- To cultivate an accessible space for discussing issues of sexuality and language.
- To demonstrate the power of web-based documentary media as a form of fostering conversations that are not frequently had in other spaces.
The project will involve two distinct stages: the production of between approximately three-to-five short documentaries (five-to-seven minutes in length each); and the production of an interactive website through which the documentaries will be distributed and accessible to audiences. Viewers will navigate to these videos by searching keywords and clicking on hyperlinked tags, allowing for customizable viewing experiences. Additionally, viewers will have an opportunity to upload their own content.