Teaching in a prison can be joyous but also infuriating, depressing and haunting. To try and make sense of the ways in which we both witnesses state violence and arbitrary control and also decide to teach, I worked with Fereshteh Toosi and Erica Meiners on a video featuring artists, writers and scholars who teach in prison with . The video project originated from the many conversations, often to and from the prison, between PNAP faculty and visiting guest lecturers in the spring of 2015.
Most of us teach and learn and make art in a range of other institutions and spaces across the city that, like all spaces, are tethered in complex ways to practices of confinement, segregation, policing and punishment. For example, many of us work at universities that discriminate in employment and enrollment against people with felony convictions. Working at Stateville has pushed each of us, in different ways, to reflect on the similarities, differences and linkages of teaching and learning in various institutions. This video makes visible our labor and our negotiations at the prison, which is sometimes complex, compromising and other times familiar to free-world contexts.
Editor: Sarah Ross
Camera: Fereshteh Toosi
Color: Scrappers Film Group
Content Development and consulting: Erica Meiners