Panel: Shadow Spaces


Panel Discussion: Shadow Spaces from The Art | Crime Archive, SDSU Love Library, 2014


Panel Discussion: Shadow Spaces from The Art | Crime Archive

SDSU Library, Room LL108 Thursday, March 20,2014, 2-4PM
Moderated by Brian Goeltzenleuchter and Paul Kaplan

You are invited to a panel discussion designed to engage the campus community in a dialog about culture and criminality. Meet prison art scholar, Laura Pecenco and noted photographer, Stephen Chalmers. A discussion will ensue about two exhibitions currently on view:

The Prison Art Project: What does prisoner-made art look like—its themes, imagery, and materials? A goal of this exhibition is to generate an awareness of the pervasive myths of prison life – much of which has been perpetuated through popular entertainment – and offer another, more complex model of what it means to live behind bars.

Interrogating Dump Sites: Photographer Stephen Chalmers gained recognition with his photographs of ‘dump sites’—wild spaces where infamous serial killers disposed of their victims. What is the ethical dimension to this body of work? What does it say about how we consume the photographic image of murder?


Stephen Chalmers is Assistant Professor of Photography at Youngstown State University. He has contributed to five books, and has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions internationally. Chalmers’ photography appears in major institutional collections including the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Light Work, Polaroid, and the Getty Research Institute. His work has been covered extensively by international media including National Public Radio (NPR), The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, Pics Magazine (China), Vision Magazine (China), PhotoART Contemporary Photography Magazine (Thailand), and The Daily Mail (UK).

Laura Pecenco has an M.A. in Sociology from UC San Diego and is currently a Ph.D. student in Sociology at UC San Diego. Pecenco’s dissertation, entitled “Paint in the Can: Creating Art and Gender in Prison,” is a study of the diverse ways men perform gender while creating art in prison. Although some scholars have called the prison environment “hypermasculine,” Pecenco argues that this label is overly simplistic; her research addresses the process of art creation and the end products by analyzing the art objects created by male prisoners. Pecenco has lectured nationally on gender, culture and the criminal justice system.

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