Southern California–based artist Nicole Miller works with film, video, and sculpture to explore themes including subjectivity, self-representation, and agency, especially as they relate to African American subjects. For Athens, California (2016), Miller visited the unincorporated community of Athens in the southern region of Los Angeles County, which is predominantly populated by black and Latino residents and cited as one of the region’s most dangerous neighborhoods.
In this immersive, 3-channel video installation, Miller weaves together personal interviews and accounts from a diverse range of students from the area, many from Washington Prep High School.
For many of these young people, sharing their stories constitutes an active gesture toward building empathy with others with similar life experiences. Miller’s installation asks whose voices are amplified and whose might be stifled, raising questions about knowledge, power, and a person’s right to be heard.