(n)IMBY Hobart-Gary

Hobart and Gary are adjoining Indiana communities that are both being targeted by GEO Inc., one of the biggest prison companies in the world, as a site for a new 800 bed for-profit detention center for the Midwest.

For this ongoing project I met with members of Concerned Citizens of Hobart and activists in Gary, photographed the potential prison sites and shared information. Based on activists’ photographs of their organizing, I have been creating drawings and firing them onto slip cast porcelain boxes, each 3inx3inx7in, which I give to community members to instigate conversation and build on their determination to stop the for-profit prison. The longer sides of the boxes show an organinzing meeting, and an idealised vision of one of the prison sites as the community would wish it to be used.

Key community members include Sandy O’Brien, Tom Dubois, Darlene Vassil, Bob Krebes, Rev. Charles Strietelmeyer in Hobart, and Sam Love in Gary. The visioning was done in collaboration with community members and urban designer Evgeniya Plotnikova.

A federal solicitation put out by ICE for expanded prison space in the midwest states that anywhere within one hour’s drive from the Downtown Chicago ICE office will do. I made and distributed a map describing this ‘Radius of Speculation’ and its source, with the support of the Weinberg-Newton Gallery. The solicitation set off a feeding frenzy of prison profiteers, which has seen prison companies CCA and GEO vying for sites in Illinois and Indiana. My (n)IMBY projects highlight successive battles between these prison companies and local immigrant and citizen communities, to support community organizing and alliances.