Saturday, February 19, 2011

"State of Incarceration"

Here's a short video I edited out of three nights worth of JD Matta's filming the Los Angeles Poverty Department's State of Incarceration (an examination of the personal and social costs of incarceration) @ Highways Performance Space.

Each performance of State of Incarceration is an experiment in which the performers, the audience, and the performance material are inserted into a restrictive prison architecture that replicates the over-crowded California State Prisons, where gymnasiums and cafeterias have been turned into dormitories housing 3 and 4 hundred prisoners. The performance space is filled wall-to-wall with 60 bunk-beds, the same model used in the prison system. The US Supreme Court is at present deliberating whether these conditions prevalent in the California State Prisons constitute cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the Constitution.

In State of Incarceration, Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD) artists articulate the mental and physical challenges of incarceration and the resources needed to endure and recover from it. When released from state penitentiaries with $200 gate money, parolees are directed to Skid Row with the largest concentration of low cost housing in LA County. 33% of parolees released to the Los Angeles area settle in the 52 square block neighborhood of Skid Row.

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