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From The Inside Out: Artist Talk and Project Launch Exhibition
April 11, 2018 - May 4, 2018
Isaac Scott, Artist Talk
Wednesday, April 11, 4-5 p.m.
Marple Campus | Small Auditorium
Reception to follow in the Art Gallery (Rm. 2305)
Learn more at: https://www.dccc.edu/campus-life/arts/art-lecture-series
FROM THE INSIDE OUT
Project Scope: Changing perceptions about people in prison
This project is a 24-month long artistic response to the misperceptions of people in prison fostered through stereotypical mainstream media representations of prison life and the people who experience incarceration.
People in prison (PIP), including those suffering from mental illnesses, are victims of mistreatment such as violence due to the use of excessive force and severe neglect in the form of moral exclusions and disengagement by prison guards and other staff (Haslam, 2006; Blackler, 2015; Gullapalli, 2015), as per correctional policy. This mistreatment is not conducive to a successful reentry back into society. The US rate of recidivism in 2014 was 76.6% compared to Norway’s 20%. This difference is attributed to Norway’s implementation of the concept of “restorative justice” (Sterbenz; 2014). This concept prioritizes the humanization and rehabilitation of PIP. Acknowledging their humanity and treating PIP as people instead of irredeemable and unworthy of acceptance (Dreisinger; 2016). Despite the above research, existing information, and efforts made by activist and organizations lobbying against these conditions, the inhumane treatment continues to occur (Blackler, 2015). This would suggest that a larger constituency remains compliant with, and/or ignorant to, these abuses.
The general public’s negative perception of who people in prison actually are encourages their willingness to legitimize or ignore prison injustices and the dehumanization of PIP. Mainstream media characterizes these negative beliefs about people who go to jail or prison. According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day. According to the Television in American Society Reference Library, watching television influences viewers’ attitudes about people from other social, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. Watching TV also influences the way people think about important social issues such as race, gender, and class. Not only does television, movies and other shared media actively shape attitudes, but they also condition people to respond to things in a collective way, to develop shared feelings of ill-will and hatred, and to react impetuously without further thought or self-examination. Forms of media such as TV and film actively (p)redefine and engineer subconscious beliefs about people who go to jail or prison. These beliefs then feed into emotional responses. This is a technique that allows information to bypass any conscious thought.
The headline exhibition for this project is a solo presentation curated by Isaac Scott, to visually articulate the thoughts, feelings, and hardships of people doing time and people returning home. This includes abuses and the harsh treatment people in prison suffer from prison administration. This exhibition will premiere (15) 16″ x 20″ canvases entitled “Rikers Island The Good the Bad and the Ugly.” The content for these pieces were compiled from several discussions that Isaac Scott had with people who self-identified as current and former correctional officers.
This project will also consist of group exhibitions following the same theme. The TCA open call for visual artists will solicit new and existing artists to submit visual works of art that articulate the thoughts, experiences, and hardships of people doing time and people returning home. Artworks that include exploitation, abuses, systematic barriers, and the harsh treatment people in prison suffer from prison administration will be considered first. This artist call is national and each artist will be able to express how his or her work advances the mission of the “From the Inside Out” Project. Exhibitions will be held throughout the United States for 2 years.
These visual arts exhibitions are imperative because mainstream media does not attribute basic human qualities like emotion, empathy, and self-control to people in prison. Instead PIP are portrayed as cold, impetuous and barbaric. Using stigmatized and stereotypical depictions of prison life inside fictional media denies the formerly incarcerated person the opportunity to be perceived by society through humane lenses when they are released from prison in real life.