Punishing Spaces, Working Spaces: Artist in Residence at SCCJR
Depictions of crime, and crime science, in popular culture represent the criminologist’s world through a narrow and increasingly hackneyed set of spaces – the crime lab and courtroom offering two examples. In this artistic-academic collaboration, photographer Jenny Wicks will be in residence at the Glasgow University site of SCCJR for ten months (February – November 2012). As an artist her focus will be at one remove, aiming to bring into view the researcher rather than the sometimes sensational topics of their study. Placing the criminologist at the scene of the crime allows for the exploration of key boundaries: between innocent and guilty, researcher and researched, us and them, and how researchers’ use of criminological spaces resists and reproduces social hierarchies. This juxtaposes and blurs the separation of the mundane and the sensational, and reveals the details that give specific meaning to spaces – such as offices, prisons – which are otherwise characterised by their anonymity. Space and its arrangement is fundamental to social order and meaning, and this is amplified in the field of criminology where control is achieved and legality defined literally through the organisation of space. By tracing the activities of researchers through photography and soundscapes, the project has the potential to expose how the activity of studying crime and justice participates in giving meaning to these concepts. At the same time, one aim of this project is to develop the artist’s practice through a high quality residency involving unique access to an area of public interest. A blog will document the project throughout, and the residency will culminate in an installation in November 2012. The artist is based at Glasgow University, but researchers throughout the SCCJR would be welcome to participate and contribute to this project.