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The Carceral Studies Learning Community at Geneseo invites students, faculty, and staff to a public screening of Bring Down the Walls, with an introduction by director Phil Collins (via Zoom).

Over the past five decades the prison population in the United States has soared to more than 2 million. Through privatization and disproportionate targeting of people of color, the marginalized and the poor, the justice system has been used as a tool of oppression and the source of corporate profit. Today, ‘the land of the free’ is the world’s biggest jailer. Coinciding with the escalation of mass incarceration in the 1980s, a new dance culture emerged from Black, Latinx and queer communities beleaguered by law-enforcement policies and criminalization.

Bring Down the Walls looks at the US prison industrial complex through the lens of house music and nightlife. The connection between a system that locks the body up and music that sets it free comes from the years in which the director Phil Collins worked with a group of men incarcerated at Sing Sing, a maximum-security prison in upstate New York. Structured around the formation of an unofficial music band, sessions repeatedly turned to a canon of dance music that was a shared formative influence for everyone in the room.

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