Rochester Decarceration Research Initiative (2018)

What makes Rochester a prison town? The Rochester Decarceration Research Initiative was formed to pursue this question. As a Humanities New York Public Humanities Fellow, I worked with Evelyne Leblanc-Roberge, Associate Professor of Art at UR, on a public art installation entitled “The only thing I can see is the sky” as a research assistant and collaborator. To complement and contextualize the installation, I designed a website that geographically located images of the sky Leblanc-Roberge created from Google Street View. The idea behind this website was to emphasize the continuity of the sky as an omnipresent and overarching remidner of Rochester’s embeddedness in carceral systems.

This project was a fantastic learning experience: participating in the Public Humanities Fellowship training sessions, building an interactive website with Javascript and Leaflet, and getting feedback from the community. While the website achieved my creative goals for the project, a mobile website with clear information about the project would have been more useful for Rochester residents who came upon the public art installation.

View the project (optimized for desktop) and read more about it here.

I also authored a visual essay for the project entitled “A Kite”.

Screenshot of the map with sky images located at jails, prisons, and detention centers within a radius of two-hour drive of Rochester, NY.
Screencast of website homepage, where users can interact with the sky images.
Tracy Stuber