Walis Johnson is an interdisciplinary artist/filmmaker whose work documents the experience and poetics of the urban landscape through oral history, ethnographic film, and artist walking practices. She is particularly interested in the intersection of documentary film, performance and socially engaged art. Walis explores hidden fissures of culture and history that upend our understanding of the political, economic and cultural structures we use to define the American condition and ourselves. Her practice consists of multiple works, in a range of different media, grouped around specific themes and meanings. Discussions that emerge are expansive and open-ended and grow richer over time. Her recent work – The Red Line Archive Project – activates conversations about the personal and political affects of redlining using her own family story growing up in Brooklyn, New York.
Walis holds an MFA from Hunter College in Interactive Media and Advanced Documentary Film and has taught a course in sustainable systems and design at Parsons School of Design. She has extensive experience in education policy and philanthropy, collaborating with community-based organizations citywide as a program officer for a Soros funded initiative and other national projects in New York and San Francisco.