TRIBALISM IS KILLING US (TIKU) is an essay film about our shared past–– an attempt to understand the science and social politics of division; why we divide, along what lines we choose to form our division, and how these divisions are damaging to us. TIKU is an examination of the intransigent prejudice of racism and its insidious effect on human life–– racism experienced on a personal level and the bias entrenched in public institutions and public thought: from the little black girl who identifies herself with the “ugly doll” and the black adolescent punished more severely for his crime than his white counterpart, to the black man left hanging from a tree in Alabama and the Syrian boy lying face down on the shores of Greece because he is not of our tribe–– because he is lesser, less important, less human, less than us.
TIKU is a reminder of where we have been–– not that skewed, glorified past which we have seen pervade our politics, but an oftentimes dark history to which we should not wish to return. The past is not a simpler, happier time. TIKU is a reminder of where isolationism, division and tribalism can take us, drawing parallels between the events of our past and the actions of our present: from lynch mobs in the 1890s, through the Black Shirt marches of Oswald Mosely’s BUF in the 1930s and the hooliganism of the seventies, to Trump’s whooping, jeering rallies of the 2016 US presidential election and the recent atrocity at Charlottesville. When we divide, we seek safety in numbers, comfort in the crowd–– mob mentality removes the need for personal responsibility, insulating us in ignorance and fear. TIKU is a realisation that we are going backwards; instead of building bridges, we are building walls.
Through archive footage, news, documentaries, film, television, music, art, science and psychology experiments, TIKU is a reminder that this does not have to be the way–– it is a reminder of our shared humanity and the power of unity. Scientists are telling us that we are 99.9% the same: that we should not be divided by race because we are all ultimately of one race. TIKU unpicks the logic of discrimination–– demonstrating how and why the system works, before presenting solutions that can help us to move forward together in these divided times, by reminding us of our commonalities and of our tremendous capacity for empathy.
The only thing that divides us is our own choices: TIKU calls on you to choose to live with empathy, to choose to act with compassion, to challenge and be challenged–– not to take the path of least resistance but to struggle against the tide of tribalism threatening to overwhelm us.
THE COLLABORATIVE STORYTELLING PLATFORM
In addition to the creation of the feature-length documentary TRIBALISM IS KILLING US, we want to have a meaningful dialogue with our online followers. Because we don’t believe that the story of othering can be a single narrative, our model of ‘Participatory Filmmaking’ encourages creative exchange between filmmaker and participants by engaging our online audience to share their own content and bring their own unique experiences in making a contribution to how this story unfolds…
As a collaborative storytelling and filmmaking experience, audiences will have full access to our documentary’s raw video content via the project’s dedicated online platform and will be encouraged to produce their own content and upload external material to the film’s interactive timeline.
Users will have a unique login profile, granting them access to their own private video editing area (using API technology) where they will be able to create their own versions of the film. Participants will therefore become active agents, who can “mash up,” add, change and thereby transform the narrative. Their own exportable version of the film can be published to social media outlets under a Creative Commons license. Terms of agreement notification on sign up and banners on the front/end of exported films ensure legal status and help identify the content as part of the TIKU project.
We have already developed a smaller-scale user-led transmedia project, I Am Other , serving as a first stage of our audience development strategy and a means of promoting the documentary and the Digital X Roads platform.
I Am Other is a digital storytelling social experiment, designed for user experience and social media driven activism as it invites users to engage in the submission of user-generated content while inviting them to join a digital civil rights movement focused invested in the notions of empathy, empowerment and belonging.