School of Art faculty Ashley Hunt offers a historical, literal, and figurative view of windows in Hostile Territory (Between inside and out), the subject of Burren Annual Exhibition 2023, running Thursday, Sept. 14 through Friday, Oct. 13 at Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan, Ireland.
The exhibition includes a photography series Hunt created between 2015 to the present, including photographs taken in Ireland specifically for the show. More about Hostile Territory from Burren College’s press release:
Hostile Territory is an exhibition that looks at windows. With photography, research and writing, it tracks the thin, slit-shaped windows of modern prisons to their architectural antecedents, considering their relationship to pre-modern structures of defense, battle and worship, and the thresholds that are drawn between bodies, shaping their regulation, subjectivity, collectivity and vision. Complicating the narratives that place the birth of the prison within modernity, as one of the enlightenment institutions of governance and civic life, Hostile Territory looks instead to their emergence from spaces of warfare and the ideological production of enemies and outsides.
The photography series encompasses sites across North and South America, Western Europe, and the Pacific Islands; specifically sites of incarceration, fortresses that “resisted colonial aggression,” palaces converted into prisons, and even prisons turned into museums. The works are accompanied by texts on “architecture, ruins, technology, the politics of looking, bodies and imaginaries, and the choreography between inside and out,” as well as a free newspaper that exhibition attendees can take home.
The works in Hostile Territory reflect Hunt’s scrutiny of the American prison industrial complex and the aesthetics of mass incarceration, a focal point of his ongoing photography and text survey of US carceral landscapes titled Degrees of Visibility. Similar themes were explored in Undoing Time: Art and Histories of Incarceration, with Hunt and fellow CalArtian Raven Chacon (Music MFA 04) among the 12 contemporary artists featured in the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive’s (BAMPFA) exhibition last year.