Attica Interactive Tablets

Date : February 18, 2017 Client : Ryerson Image Centre

This exhibition recounts the story and cultural impact of the notorious Attica prison riots in western New York State. In a context of great political unrest in the United States, including repression of the Black Panther Party and mass opposition to the Vietnam War, 2200 inmates at the Attica Correctional Facility rebelled in demand of civil rights and better living conditions. Following failed negotiations, New York state police violently regained control of the prison, resulting in the deaths of 42 detainees and correctional officers. The still and moving images emerging from journalists permitted inside the prison were unlike any photo-reportage seen before, offering extraordinary insight into American incarceration, conditions within the US prison system, and the country’s fraught politics of race and power. This exhibition contextualizes imagery of the events within a broader expressive framework, including photography and documentary film alongside artwork, music, agitprop ephemera, and popular cinema to explore the multivalent cultural response to this extraordinary news event.