This semester, I’m taking a course called Human Rights and International Development. Just two weeks ago the class was assigned to read and browse through the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign homepage. The goal of the assignment was to comment on and critique the organization’s use of human rights language, to explore how international human rights law is translated and played out on the grassroots level. Coincidentally, while googling for more information about local artist Laura Deutch, I came across PPEHRC once more, but this time through a completely different medium—locally made documentary videos.
Laura Deutch, creative director of Messages in Motion (MIM), is a media artist in Philadelphia who combines the power of the arts with social justice work. MIM has this basic idea—to travel in their van (a fully equipped studio), empower the voices of individuals and community-based organizations in the Philadelphia area, and start conversations.
There is a wonderfully blunt and raw voice in each of the videos featured by MIM. As an artist deeply interested in social justice work, Laura helps these voices–voices that often find themselves marginalized, forgotten, or ignored by mainstream America–experience the art of storytelling. MIM provides a venue to share their individual and community stories through their own personal documentaries. Follow the van on its interactive journeys!