PROJECTS

THE CAGE PROJECT

Project Statement:

In collaboration with established organizations, the Cage Project employs unconventional social interventions to challenge the systemic ignorance fueling mass incarceration.

Press Release:

Prison abolitionist stages post-criminal satire by caging himself outside the Manhattan Detention Complex on Sunday, October 25th, the day the first penitentiary was established in the United States.

I will be handcuffed and sealed into a freestanding steel cage, and placed by a team in the middle of the intersection of Center and White St. at 12noon, unable to get out. I am staging this disruption because the scandal of mass criminalization, incarceration, and neglect in America is horrific, inhumane, and an issue of grave urgency.

Not only do we need to pass the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 – We should abolish prison as the dominant mode of punishment and move toward a non-retributive, reconciliatory, restorative justice to address the issues prisons attempt to address but cannot.

By displacing the caged person from behind the walls to the middle of the street, and rendering what is too often invisible visible, I hope to add some emotional depth to the public discussion on prison reform, mental health, and race in America.

Press:

The New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/confronting-americas-shameful-mass-incarceration-with-performance-art

Gothamist: http://gothamist.com/2015/10/25/photos_artist_locks_himself_in_cage.php

Artnet: https://news.artnet.com/people/lech-szporer-arrested-cage-protest-351551

Creators Protect: http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/artist-caged-himself-to-fight-for-prison-reform

The Voice Project: http://voiceproject.org/post_news/anatomy-effective-art-action-lech-szporers-cage-project/

Saint Heron: http://saintheron.com/news/activist-held-unique-protest-prison-system/

Calcalist (Israel): http://www.calcalist.co.il/consumer/articles/0,7340,L-3673740,00.html

Humanities Action Lab: http://humanitiesactionlab.org/incarceration-present-and-past-2015-and-1829/

Creapills (France): http://creapills.com/les-idees/1-cet-artiste-s-enferme-cage-denoncer-systeme-judiciaire-americain-30102015

El Molino Online (Columbia): http://elmolinoonline.com/artista-se-enjaula-en-manhattan-en-pro-de-la-reforma-al-sistema-de-justicia-criminal-lech-szporer/

ATTEMPTED CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF RIKERS ISLAND

RikersPoleroid

Rikers Island can be seen as a metaphor for the prison industrial complex in that the entire island has been constructed and expanded strictly to incarcerate people. By engaging the periphery of this panoptical island via canoe, we were attempting to allegorically circumvent the criminal (in)justice system. However, while attempting to circumnavigate the complex, we were spotted and picked up by the Coast Guard and NYPD, interrogated by the FBI and TTF, and ultimately given a notice of violation for breaching the LaGuardia Security Zone in Flushing Bay.

FREE BED STUY: SCHOOL AGAINST PRISON


In collaboration with the Von King Cultural Arts Center as well as over 20 local community organizations and businesses, we hosted a day of celebration in commemoration of Juneteenth (Abolition Day). In collaboration with Free University and criminal justice reform field trainers from the community, we created an outdoor School Against Prison with a curriculum of teach-ins on issues such as: the school to prison pipeline, immigration rights, debt and prison, post-prison expungement legislation, abolitionist landscapes, alternatives to incarceration, community control, and know your rights and copwatch training.

THE SLAVE THEATER COMMUNITY HISTORY PROJECT



The Slave Theater Community History Project seeks to create a historical archive of the Slave Theater, the life of Judge John L. Phillips, and the local activism and recent history of the Bedford Stuyvesant Community.

Slave Theater Site: http://theslavetheater.com

Slave Theater Twitter: https://twitter.com/theslavetheater

Tumblr Archive: http://thenomadicslavetheater.tumblr.com

OCCUPY WALL STREET: NBC ARREST


What is an aesthetic point? And what does it mean to make an aesthetic point? These are questions I ask myself, having pulled down a police barricade in order to rouse the masses of people to take to the streets in order to make an aesthetic point. The visibility of dissent is critical to an authentic democracy. But dissent and democracy had over time become abstract notions to me. Sure, I thought, civil resistance and direct action alarms the public. But to arouse emotion in society and to provoke new forms of collective enunciation, how does this form of politics come into play? How do we engage a new politics of this (dis)order?

Link to Site: http://occupywallst.org

GIVE KIDS YOUR INSTRUMENTS


Give Kids Your Instruments is a 501c3 nonprofit based in New York that secures the resources to augment music and arts education for young people in lower income communities and areas emerging from conflict. Our partners include: Bailey’s Café, Children of Promise, and Haiti Scholarship Association.

Projects Sites

Give Kids Your Instruments: http://www.givekidsyourinstruments.org

Sing Soleil: http://www.singsoleil.com

Partners Sites

Haiti Scholarship Association: http://www.haitischolarship.org

Children of Promise: http://www.cpnyc.org

Baileys Café: http://baileyscafe.org

PRISON IS AN ANGRY FATHER

PIAAF24 artists come together on 14 tracks to confront why we still cage people. By purchasing this record, you are making a donation to the Cage Project.

Samizdat Records: http://samizdatrecords.com/album/szr000-prison-is-an-angry-father

PIAAF: http://prisonisanangryfather.com