This is an experiment in using documentary and poetry to reveal the threads that tie us together—as people, as states, and as a nation. Jennifer Crandall traveled America’s deep south for more than two years meeting people, asking if they would open up their lives, and if so, would they permit her to record them while reading a verse from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself. Each part of the documentary corresponds to one of the epic poem’s 52 verses. The project is a multi-year effort in deep consideration and observation of who Americans are, and how they are connected, however visibly, or invisibly. 25 verses from ‘Whitman, Alabama’ are currently on exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The project can also be followed as it progresses at www.whitmanalabama.com.
Jennifer Crandall is an artist and filmmaker whose work explores themes of identity and connection, or disconnection. She was born in Ethiopia in 1974, raised in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Haiti, and was shepherded through those worlds by a Chinese mother from Vietnam and a father from Denver, Colorado. Jennifer is the creator of the Emmy- nominated video series onBeing, an extensive examination of what makes us human through intimate portraits of interviewees. Currently, Jennifer continues her examination of identity and connection through a 52-part documentary film – ‘Whitman, Alabama’.