Stateville Prison, Joliet, IL: Art Object?

Prison Photography

Following my recent post of David Leventi‘s work, a reader contacted me to alert me of the potential (and presumably happenstance) development of Stateville Correctional Center, Joliet, Illinois as an art object.

Consistently through the representations of Stateville is the description of the roundhouse as one of the last remaining prisons in America adhering to the Panopticon model developed by Jeremy Bentham.

Let us be clear, the Panopticon is an outdated and abusive model for corrections; it relies on a small number controlling a large number through the threat of constant supervision. Modern correctional management must look beyond disciplinary techniques based upon spatial arrangement and look toward truly transformative (educational) engagement with prison populations.

Still one can only speculate that the roundhouse prison is of interest to artists primarily because of its “purity” of form as understood – and communicated – through the formal qualities of composition within…

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