Incarceration was already a critical issue before the pandemic, but when cases of COVID-19 began cropping up in prisons, the heat on the topic reached a fever pitch. On Saturday, Oct. 17, the Incarceration Nations Network will project a site-specific installation, The Writing on the Wall, on the side of Boise City Hall, humanizing the people behind bars.
"Mass incarceration is at the heart of everything that is happening right now—both the pandemic and the revolutionary uprisings," wrote INN Founder and Executive Director Baz Dreisinger in a press release. "The Writing on the Wall has always been a kind of interruption, interjecting the voices of people behind bars around the world in public spaces so people are compelled to read them."
The installation, which begins at 7:30 p.m., comprises the essays, letters, notes, poems and stories of incarcerated people blasted onto the side of City Hall in a compendium designed to highlight the issues of criminal justice and prison reform.
Following that presentation will be projection of photos from 19 Love Stories, a photo project by Angela Smith that showcases the connection, empathy and resilience of Idahoans who have lived through the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I wanted to show all sides of this, how it's affecting people financially, physically," Smith told Boise Weekly about her project in April. "I feel like I wasn't getting many real human stories from the local or even national media."