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Dee Hibbert-Jones (San Francisco) collaborating with Nomi Talisman and Community Resource Initiative (San Francisco)

Award: $40,000 Media Arts Grant, awarded 2009

Presented: In progress, 2012

Artists Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman are collaborating with Community Resource Initiative (CRI) to produce Living Condition, a video that conveys the experiences of three sets of families and children of prisoners on death row. Rather than creating a traditional video documentary, Hibbert-Jones and Talisman are animating and illustrating individuals’ stories, giving a degree of anonymity to each person interviewed, while retaining their personalities and intimate gestures.

Living Condition describes the situation of individuals who themselves have not broken any laws, but whose lives are deeply impacted by the death penalty.  The core material for the video has been collected through interviews with family members, alongside members of the extended community such as pastors, and prominent community leaders.The artists write, “Families of prisoners on death row are rarely invited to describe their experiences; they frequently feel misrepresented, unheard or pigeonholed.”

Lead artist Dee Hibbert-Jones’s work questions an individual’s designated “place” in the body politic and what society expects that place to be. Her work has been exhibited and screened in Europe, Israel, Japan and the U.S. She is Associate Professor of Art and Digital Art New Media at University of California, Santa Cruz. She and CRI media specialist and artist Nomi Talisman have been working collaboratively since 2004, making work that investigates the ways individuals manage power systems from the mundane to the extreme, through videos, sculpture, installation and street interventions.

Community Resource Initiative (CRI) is a capital defense non-profit organization. Its goal is to improve the quality of representation of individuals facing the death penalty in the U.S. and abroad. It also serves as a resource center for communities disproportionately affected by the death penalty.