Degrees of Visibility

Degrees of Visibility is a nine-year survey of more than 260 carceral spaces throughout the United States, examining the landscapes in which prisons, jails, and detention centers sit within all 50 states and territories by Los Angeles-based artists Ashley Hunt. Each photograph is shot from a publicly available point of view. One may or may not be able to see the prison. The works are titled with the statistics, language, and locations of the institutions. Hunt obtained these statistics directly from institutions between 2013 and 2019, along with informational websites, news stories, governmental and non-governmental reports.

Degrees of Visibility shows the carceral state. Hunt states, it is “a play of visibility and invisibility in a society aspiring toward freedom but rooted in captivity. Following this contradiction, these visual politics have enabled the immense growth of U.S. imprisonment since the Civil Rights Era, a century after penal servitude replaced chattel servitude through the 13th Amendment. Ironically, the system’s erasures also offer us a chance to imagine each landscape without its prison—its carceral relations undone and its costs redirected toward the building of strong communities.”

This iteration of the exhibition follows an oral storytelling workshop with youth interns at the Coleman Center, parts of which are available in the exhibition newspaper. Degrees of Visibility traveled to Alabama Contemporary Art Center in Mobile and will remain installed through January 16, 2021.

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