Incarcerated Populations

American Prison Perspectives

Photographer

Christoph Gielen

Concept

My goal with this project is to combine rarely accessible aerial views of maximum security prisons with seldom-heard assessments by industry insiders of the architectural aims behind state of the art confinement facilities—and thereby offering a glimpse into the dry "science" of building maximum security prisons. My photography of these facilities will be presented on-line, as an exhibition, and as an integral part of a symposium series featuring interest groups on both sides of the debate surrounding solitary confinement.

At a time when the U.S. prison population is peaking at unprecedented numbers, this work will demonstrate how prison design and architecture reflect political discourse, economic priorities, cultural sentiments, and social insecurities, and how, in turn, these constructed environments also become statements about a society. I aim to provide an examination of these otherwise off-limits locations at the intersection of art and politics, and to encourage active involvement in the discussion about the U.S. prison system.

Biography

Christoph Gielen specializes in photographic aerial studies of urban development in its relation to land use, exploring the intersection of art and environmental politics.

Gielen’s pictures and feature articles about him have appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Lapham’s Quarterly, and The New Yorker. His work was presented on CNN International TV, and he is the author of Ciphers (monograph, D.A.P. 2012). Gielen has also been a speaker at discussion forums such as the BMW Guggenheim Lab in New York.

His award-winning pictures have been exhibited at institutions and galleries both in the U.S. and in Europe.

www.christophgielen.com

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