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Provisional Island: An Electric Kite

NEW for 2018!

The artist collective Provisional Island installed a handmade radio transmitter in one cell that transmits to portable radios in the cell directly opposite. The broadcast is comprised of fragments culled from radio broadcasts and historic radio shows created in prisons and internment camps, and highlights the role of radio in subverting and transcending prison walls.

The prison-issue radio is receiving the broadcast is a common model sold in prison commissaries. Most electronics sold in prisons have clear casings so officers can detect tampering or objects hidden inside.

The transmission features clips from radio shows, interviews, and prison concerts. Several segments are from radio programs covering mass incarceration, prisoners’ rights, and prison abolition. Some feature family and friends on call-in shows, sending messages to an incarcerated loved one. Other clips are drawn from a pirate radio broadcast by activists outside a prison in the Midwest.

“This piece honors the ingenuity and resilience of prisoners and their supporters.”
— The artists of Provisional Island

Eastern State receives arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Eastern State’s Halloween fundraiser, Terror Behind the Walls, provides additional support. 

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner