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Yesterday, we were talking about Google Street View. So, the segue to today’s topic is pretty seamless.

There’s been plenty of reporting on the prison robots designed and now being trialled in South Korea. This simple breakdown of info on these over-sized dehumidifiers is as good of a place to start than anywhere.

Lets be honest, these storm-trooping bread-makers are weird but they’re a pretty clumsy use of technology. Yesterday, I deleted my Linked In account, at the weekend I was talking about nuclear war initiated by software viruses (a la Stuxnet). I mean to say that, if we’re thinking about technologies, digital footprints and code-based (non-physical) manifestations of monitoring and interaction are far more pervasive, instant, destabilising and effective ways to intervene in – and disrupt – the world. These stupid, pearly-white ionisers on wheels deserve nothing but mockery.

No matter how good their 3-D cameras and behaviour analysis softwares are, the damn thing still turns its back like a human prison guard. Why doesn’t it employ 360 degrees imaging?

The thing looks ridiculous. It will never work. Prisoners will take the first opportunity to kick the shit out of it … and so they should. In such a scenario, would disciplinary sanctions against a prisoner for vandalising a robot be dealt with in the same way the authority might punish a prisoner for an assault on a prison guard?

The isolation of solitary confinement destroys people; the threat and the psychological isolation of prisoners damages people; unhealthy and inhumane relations with gang-affiliated prisoners and/or stressed, possibly abusive or indifferent, officers damages people. If we expect prisoners to rehabilitate themselves we need to prepare them for reentry into majority society, not subject them to sci-fi distopia surveillance for the sake of saving a buck.

This is market economics gone mad. A product with a cost and with a projected cost-saving. At nearly a million bones a pop I hope they’re dismantled very rapidly by any prisoner class that encounters them. It wouldn’t be vandalism it’d be a service to humanity.

MARTIN BATALLES REPRESENTING URUGUAY

LIVIA CORONA REPRESENTING MEXICO

MARCOS LOPEZ REPRESENTING ARGENTINA

Friend of Prison Photography, Emiliano Granado, likes football as much as he rocks at photography.

We pooled our knowledge to pair each country competing in South Africa with a photographer of the same nationality.

GROUP A

FRA France  – JR
MEX Mexico – Livia Corona
RSA South Africa – Mikhael Subotzky
URU Uruguay – Martín Batallés

GROUP B

ARG Argentina – Marcos Lopez
GRE Greece – George Georgiou (Born in London to Greek Cypriot parent)
KOR South Korea – Ye Rin Mok
NGA Nigeria – George Osodi

GROUP C

ALG Algeria – Christian Poveda
ENG England – Stephen Gill
SVN Slovenia – Klavdij Sluban (French of Slovenian origin … I know, I know, but you try to find a Slovenia born photographer!)
USA United States – Bruce Davison

GROUP D

AUS Australia – Stephen Dupont
GER Germany – August Sander
GHA Ghana – Philip Kwame Apagya
SRB Serbia – Boogie

GROUP E

CMR Cameroon – Barthélémy Toguo
DEN Denmark – Henrik Knudsen
JPN Japan – Araki
NED Netherlands – Rineke Dijkstra

GROUP F

ITA Italy – Massimo Vitali
NZL New Zealand – Robin Morrison
PAR Paraguay – ?????
SVK Slovakia – Martin Kollar

GROUP G

BRA Brazil – Sebastiao Selgado
CIV Ivory Coast – Ananias Leki Dago
PRK North Korea – Tomas van Houtryve (it was difficult to find a North Korean photographer)
POR Portugal – Joao Pina

GROUP H

CHI Chile – Sergio Larrain
HON Honduras – Daniel Handal
ESP Spain – Alberto García Alix
SUI Switzerland – Jules Spinatsch

Emiliano has been posting images from each of the photographers and doubled up on a few nations where the talent pool is teeming. You can see them all over on his Tumblr account, A PILE OF GEMS

NOTES

* Don’t even begin arguing about who should represent the USA. It is a never-ending debate.

* I’ll be honest, finding photographers for the African nations was tricky, even for a web-search-dork like myself. But then we knew about the shortcomings of distribution and promotion within the industry, didn’t we?

* For Chile, we had to look to the past legend Larrain. I’ll be grateful if someone suggest a living practitioner.

* North Korean photographer, by name, anyone? We had to fall back on van Houtryve because he got inside the DPR.

* Rineke Dijkstra was one of approximately 4 thousand-trillion dutch photographers who are everywhere.

* Araki was the easy choice. Ill admit – I know next to nothing about Japanese photography (Marc, help?)

* I wanted a few more political photographers in there, while Emiliano goes for arty stuff. I think we found a nice balance overall.

* And, SERIOUSLY, name me a Paraguayan photographer! PLEASE.

AUGUST SANDER REPRESENTING GERMANY

JULES SPINATSCH REPRESENTING SWITZERLAND

PHILIP KWAME APAGYA REPRESENTING GHANA

EMAIL

prisonphotography [at] gmail [dot] com

@BROOKPETE ON TWITTER

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