It’s an overcast day in March when Sondra Perry shoots her family portrait. She gathers the roughly ten members to stand in front of what we assume is her grandmother’s house, and asks them to hold up the American flag. They are all African American and wearing neon-green ski masks. “1-2-3,” chants Perry. “Cheese!” says the family.
A finder window pops up. The cursor clicks around and starts the music. “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” rings out and the window begins to slowly rotate and float back into the neon-green desktop wallpaper.
It’s a hypnotizing and beautiful entry point into Perry’s 25-minute “Lineage for a Multiple-Monitor Workstation: Number One,” a video that uses multiple windows on dual computer screens to invite viewers and her family to reimagine black identity and social history. Perry casts her relatives as themselves, and asks them to recall and reconstruct personal and fabricated family traditions. The result is a film that presents identity as half-true, half-constructed, and entirely mutable in the digital age. It’s a brilliant video, and one of the most worthy of attention I’ve seen in a long time.