The goal of Mirror/Echo/Tilt is to work with people affected by the criminal justice system to create a visual, performance based curriculum that reframes personal narratives, promotes individual agency, and breaks down the myth of the criminal.
Mirror/Echo/Tilt is a project created by artists (Melanie Crean, Shaun Leonardo, and Sable E. Smith) in collaboration with people who are court-involved, formerly incarcerated, or otherwise affected by the criminal justice system. Through a curriculum based on visual storytelling, participants translate personal narratives into performance in order to replace a culturally embedded conception of black criminality with new language so that the mind and body may think, feel, and move in a way not defined by their previous experience with incarceration. Our goal is to facilitate participants’ agency to tell their own stories and ultimately, reframe existing narratives defining the “criminal.”
Since 2015 we have piloted our methodology working with individuals caught in cycles of incarceration and now collaborate with the Brooklyn downtown criminal court as an arts-based diversion program for youth. When individuals successfully complete the course, their cases are closed, sealed, and do not appear on their adult record.
The immediate goal of our project is actionable impact on youth recidivism.While doing so, we refine and compile a tool kit that includes input from different populations affected by the system, archived online with visual documentation.