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I’m still in Los Angeles making PPOTR magic happen.

Artist, photographer and prison fangirl Alyse Emdur has been working with hundreds of U.S. prisoners on a collaborative study of visiting room portraits and backdrops (more on that to come.)

During her MFA show When I Get Out of Here, she projected Gary Boyd’s Body Talk video on the gallery wall.

The footage was shot on a prison owned video camera which was in the prison for an event. The footage was then smuggled out. Gary Boyd has since been released and has changed his name to Sol Amen Ra.

While we’re on the topic of body sculpting inside prisons, check out Arnold Schwarzenegger helping inmates weight train in the era before California banned weightlifting equipment in prisons – a ban, if I recall correctly, Arnold criticised as Governor.

The governator wants to outsource California’s prisons to Mexico. Arnie went totally off script and blurted out an idea not even Matthew Cate, Secretary for the California Department of Corrections could, or would, back up.

Schwarzenegger suggested that outsourcing would save California $1billion/year, but couldn’t state from where he got the figure.

The idea is a non-starter for so many reasons. I know Arnie is desperate for solutions but he must at least be expected to stay within the realms of reality, no?

In a loose tangential thread, I have been impressed recently by the works of Livia Corona and Alejandro Cartagena.

Corona and Cartagena both train their lenses on suburbia, not prisons (although the psychologies of the two architectures may converge?)

On the evidence of their photographs the construction industry in Mexico is booming, even if it is ugly.

© Livia Corona. From the series, 'Two Million Homes for Mexico'

© Alejandro Cartagena. From the series, 'Fragmented Cities'

Thanks to Katie DeGraff for the tip off on Arnie’s madness


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