The Prison Industry: Artistic Approaches to Activism

Film Screening and Discussion Fri 7 Apr 2006 6.30PM-8.30PM The New School, Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd Floor
Admission: $10, free for all students, as well as New School faculty, staff and alumni with valid ID
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One of the primary goals in the punishment of crime has been the hope for reform. Today, however, the role of the prison as a place for rehabilitation, growth, and personal advancement appears obsolete. Since the privatization of the United States prison system in the 1980s, the system has become a vast $40 billion-a-year industry, the most elaborate in the world. At a time when the U.S. has achieved the highest rate of imprisonment per capita in the history of the world—in which, for instance, one in four African American men are under correctional supervision—the American public is slowly awakening to an unprecedented crisis of mass incarceration.

Investigating notions of punishment and imprisonment, repentance and acquittal, this discussion addresses the prison industry, focusing on artistic approaches to activism and reform. The evenings program will begin with a screening of "I Won't Drown on that Levee and You Ain't Gonna' Break My Back" (USA, 2005) by Ashley Hunt which uses the New Orleans prison crisis as a case study and a point of departure for a larger crisis in incarceration and rehabilitation.

Kenyon Farrow, activist and writer

Ashley Hunt, artist and activist
Trevor Paglen, artist, writer, and experimental geographer working out of the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley
Temporary Services, artist collaborative, represented by Salem Collo-Julin

This event is presented as part of the Vera List Center's program cycle on "Considering Forgiveness."