Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration investigates the impact of the carceral state on American life through the lens of art and visual culture. The multi-platform project grows out of a decade of research by Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood, author, curator and James Weldon Johnson Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU. Marking Time encompasses an award-winning book, a traveling exhibition, and ongoing public programs and collaborations highlighting artists working to end mass incarceration and issues impacting imprisoned people, their loved ones, and communities.
Marking Time grows out of groundbreaking research on contemporary culture, art, and the carceral state including interviews with currently and formerly incarcerated artists. Each initiative of this ongoing project foregrounds the creativity, activism, coalition building, and visions of freedom of directly impacted people. Working with meager supplies and in the harshest conditions, imprisoned artists find ways to resist the brutality and isolation that prisons engender. Their innovative practices reveal how to create, to forge relations, and to embody and represent one’s life under unimaginable conditions. They provide visions and blueprints to transforming society.