Some information about our upcoming event, as recently posted on the Haverford GO! boards:
In ET^2, we will trace the stories of two E.T. figures: Spielberg’s fictional E.T., who reached te American consciousness in 1982, and real life Emmett Till, whose violent death by lynching shocked the American consciousness in 1955. Although at first their two stories may seem entirely without connection, upon closer inspection the emotions that define these narratives draw them together.
Each character represents an innocence that the world will not allow to survive. Each character transgresses against an order they do not, or cannot, understand, triggering a violent, possessive response from the powers that be. Each character is thrust into an unknown and dangerous world, which is defined by an ever-present latent fear. It is a fear that circles in with inexorable finality. Ultimately, inevitably, their fears are realized in abduction.
Although E.T. is a fictional entity, his alien form mirrors Emmett Till’s own experience of alienation. Even as an adolescent of 14 years, Emmett’s black skin set him apart from the community to which his murderers belonged. And although only E.T. is placed on a lab table, literally objectified and transformed into a subject of science, the psychic “othering” experienced by Emmett is no less potent. It results in his kidnapping, torture, and very real death.
In the event ET^2 we will explore these themes through the layered presentation of two films into one overlapping image. On Thursday, there will be a screen in the middle of Ryan student center: on one side of we will project E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial. On the reverse side of the screen, with another projector, we will show a documentary on the life and death of Emmet Till. Played simultaneously live, each film will peer through the translucent screen to haunt the other. The ghost image will show through, transposed over the other movie. From one end of the room, we will play the sound from E.T., from the other side of the room, we will play the sound from the documentary. The result will be two narratives that collide in the center. On the screen, the two visual stories will interact, play against each other, and each separate story will cast insight into the other, fusing into one narrative larger than either film presents on their own.
It will be provocative. It will be thought provoking.
In addition to the importance of this subject in and of itself, this event hopes to break the ground and prepare the way for the artistic project that Pope.L will be creating at Haverford later this spring. The themes presented in this project will be source material for William Pope.L’s performance with students in March. Watch this thread over the next couple days for preview images of the film.