TU arts project on truth, reconciliation launches with virtual Fall Film Series

By Rebecca Kirkman on October 8, 2021

CoLab directors Young, Pinkston present “Invisible Architectures,” a multiyear project from the College of Fine Arts & Communication

Two women in face coverings stand on stairs
TU assistant professor of electronic media and film Kalima Young, left, and art education lecturer Ada Pinkston launch the COFAC CoLab theme “Invisible Architectures” with the Fall Film Series. (Photo: Alex Wright)

The Towson University Department of Electronic Media and Film’s 2021 Fall Film Series, “Invisible Architectures,” runs virtually on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. through Oct. 25. This year, the films explore the concept of truth and reconciliation across multiple cinematic genres.

“In this series, we spend four weeks dealing with versions of truth and reconciliation as an opportunity to hear how they have been defined,” explains Kalima Young, assistant professor of electronic media and film.

“One of the films, ‘The Forgiven,’ is about that process in South Africa. ‘Three Billboards’ is a conversation about truth and reconciliation within one person's trauma,” Young says. “Our community can begin to engage in this conversation through the film series.”

In the virtual format, which began in 2020, attendees screen the films prior to joining Zoom-based discussions with special guests each week. The Fall Film Series is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are required to receive the links to the virtual discussions.

Films and Discussion Dates

Oct. 18: “I Am Not Your Negro” (2016)
Based on James Baldwin's unfinished book, this visual essay, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, explores racism through the stories of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

Oct. 25: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017)
Hard-nosed mother Mildred Hayes is seeking justice for her murdered daughter. With no arrests after seven months, Mildred puts up three roadside signs to goad the Ebbing police chief into action.

The film series is the first event within the 2021–24 College of Fine Arts & Communication (COFAC) CoLab theme of the same name, led by Young and art education lecturer Ada Pinkston.

Launched in fall 2017, the COFAC CoLab is an incubator for ideas, projects and collaboration across the college as well as with the wider university community.

Young and Pinkston describe “Invisible Architectures” as “a multiyear, interdisciplinary container designed to create avenues for projects and programs that reinscribe the voices of Black, brown, Indigenous and immigrant populations in the narrative of Towson University’s origin story. It also aims to revisibilize the place-based strategies and cultural frictions that have contributed to Towson University’s growth and development as an anchor institution in Baltimore.”

Young and Pinkston will use a different framework each year—place, discipline and architecture—to examine the theme.

In addition to the Fall Film Series, the CoLab directors plan to explore the theme through the projection-based public art project “Critical Confabulations” in the spring to round out year one, a special topics course and brown-bag discussions in the second year and a conference and interdisciplinary art festival in the final year.

“Arts are a way to embody things that feel ephemeral,” Young says. “People are more willing and able to sit with dark [concepts] when they know they are getting a creative experience.”

Pinkston agrees. “Art is a tool that can be used to express what the written word can't,” she says. “It helps to see around corners. To provoke an audience down a particular emotional journey they might not enter through a denser historical archive.”

For more arts events, visit events.towson.edu.