Week 7: Adam King

One notion that really stuck in my mind while looking at Highrise and Public Secrets this week was the idea of media as art, and that even the darkest projects of human misdirection can still be composed into something that is intrinsically beautiful. As a kid growing up just outside of New York City, I’ve always had a fascination with the highrises – I’d love watching them grow as I rode the rain in through Queens. Thus, it was easy for me to bond with Highrise and want to dive deeper into it. It’s Public Secrets ability to entrance me that I’m more amazed by.


Inside the American prison system is a horrific place to be, and yet there’s something about this project that make s the interactive experience of dialog almost soothing. First off, it’s a brilliant use of multimedia as the instilled visual dichotomy subtly lures your mind into being receptive of the inside/outside format. Secondly, the ability to hear the direct quotations s from the prisoners as you funnel through their excerpts creates a powerful sensation of actually interacting with them face to face. But most importantly, there was something about the audio portraits that not only created an inner dialogue of debate about our system within me, but it made that dialogue seem beautiful. It’s an incredibly powerful example of the notion of Zen and The Art of Debate. Any successful debater or arguer is able to put themselves into both sets of shoes, and this website creates that ability perfectly. This isn’t an argument about whether degrees of incarceration are right or wrong, or just or unfair – this project is about reinstalling humanity into the argument. And that reintroduction of the human voice makes a project that would have been seriously depressing as told by 60 Minutes or some other media outlet, into something that creates a ballet-like process of delicate interaction. It’s an incredible site, and it should be viewed equally as a piece of evolving performance art as it is a journalistic view at the prison system. It’s really inspiring and within me instills this notion that the overall, alluring composition of something should never be sacrificed solely based on the serious tone of the piece.

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