Digital composite of Eastern State Penitentiary’s Hidden Lives, Illuminated, 2017. Photo courtesy of Greenhouse Media.
Jesse Krimes, Apokaluptein 16389067: II, 2015. Photo by Darryl Moran.
Aerial view of Eastern State Penitentiary, 2014. Photo by Darryl Moran.
Eastern State Penitentiary’s Hidden Lives, Illuminated will offer a rare look into daily life inside America’s correctional system through four newly commissioned, animated short films, created by artists living or working in prisons. Each film will be projected onto Eastern State’s 30-foot facade for one week, accompanied by a soundtrack that viewers can download to their smartphones. Concurrent programs hosted by community ambassadors will foster public conversation around social and criminal justice issues, before the project culminates in a one-night festival during which all films will be screened, along with documentaries about the artists, which will play inside the historic site’s cellblocks. The organization will collaborate on the project with interdisciplinary artist and curator Maria Gaspar, founder of 96 Acres Project—a Chicago-based series of community-engaged, site-responsive art projects that served as an inspiration for Hidden Lives, Illuminated. A short documentary about the creation of the project will later be on view for future Eastern State visitors.