“Crow Requiem” is another film I made about our planet and some of its creatures—namely crows, incarcerated humans, women. Another by-product of the exploitation, hoarding, and accumulation of Earth’s resources is a surplus of human beings and the collateral deaths of non-human persons and their habitats. We need someplace to put them. Prisons—human-storage facilities—are the easiest (though terribly inefficient) means of dealing with human surplus.
I say all this but I do not feel hopeless for humans. I feel a greater sense of urgency for the non-human persons on the planet who we will have to watch die before we get our act together, but maybe I should make another film, structured like a gospel song, that celebrates the human wisdoms that do not surrender to capitalism, and the socio-economic structures that refuse to produce surplus.” - Cauleen Smith
"Crows are well known for their mythological reputation as tricksters and harbingers of death, but less for the reality that they are creatures of remarkable intelligence who lead complex social lives. Smith became fascinated by these misunderstood animals when she noticed the massive flock of crows roosting outside her bedroom window during her artist residency at Light Work. She learned that the native population of crows circulates between Syracuse and nearby Auburn, NY; and that this migration is partly in response to harassment and, at times, state-sanctioned violence at the hands of a human population who view them as a nuisance. Smith interweaves the figure of the crow through the histories of these two cities, both of which were key stations on the Underground Railroad and innovators in early cinematic and 3D optical technologies. “Crow Requiem” connects this history to recent and ongoing violence against people of color at the hands of the state. Shot on location in Central New York, and featuring selections from Onondaga Historical Association’s extensive archive of 19th century stereoscopic images." - Cauleen Smith
The Origins of Jim Crow (Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, Ferris State University)