Voices in Time: Lives in Limbo

In March 2004, Beyondmedia collaborated with their longtime partner, Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers (CLAIM), to produce Voices in Time: Lives in Limbo, a series of art & education events on women and girls' incarceration and its impact on families at Las Manos Gallery in Chicago. The event aimed to give voice to imprisoned women and girls through visual art, media, written and spoken word, and critical dialogue. This project featured Beyondmedia's multimedia installation that recreates a prison cell through the eyes of its female prisoners together with live performances by former prisoners, an exhibition of art by women and girls in prison and an audio installation with family members of incarcerated women. Through Beyondmedia's Women and Prison program, incarcerated women and girls, former prisoners and their families use media arts to voice their stories, promoting public dialogue, healing and community organizing. Since 1997, Beyondmedia has collaborated extensively with women and girls in prison and after their incarceration to create interdisciplinary, multimedia educational forums on women and prison. See http://beyondmedia.org for more information.

00:03Copy video clip URL Title card about the Voices in Time series.

00:24Copy video clip URL A clip from “Echoes of a Caged Soul,” a spoken word performance by Pamela Thomas set to drums.

00:47Copy video clip URL Title

00:55Copy video clip URL Pamela Thomas introduces the Voices in Time multimedia installation at Las Manos Gallery in Chicago.

01:26Copy video clip URL Linda Adams, Yolanda Mills, Joanne Archibald, Donna Henry, Diana Delgado, and Pamela Thomas introduce their stories and tell experiences of sexual and physical abuse, abandonment, neglect, addiction, and incarceration.

05:17Copy video clip URL “Echoes of a Caged Soul,” a spoken word poem performed by Pamela Thomas. Comparison of what it costs to send someone to the University of Illinois versus sending that person to prison.

06:29Copy video clip URL The women share their struggles to survive, access quality education, and deal with personal loss, violence, and destructive peer influences. They describe the coping mechanisms they adopted, sometimes harmful, to deal with ongoing trauma and grief. Iyrania Hill also offers her story and experience. Another spoken word segment weaves into the women’s stories.

08:21Copy video clip URL Diana Delgado, “Rose,” Hilda Berghammer, and Pamela Thomas share their experiences of spousal physical and emotional abuse.

13:51Copy video clip URL The women narrate an impressionistic portrait of life inside the carceral system. Images from the Las Manos Gallery installation.

14:55Copy video clip URL The women share the length and reason of their prison sentences.

18:22Copy video clip URL “Children.” Focus on the impact of women’s incarceration on children, the maltreatment of pregnant women and women giving birth while under custody of the state, and the trauma of parent separation from their children.

21:32Copy video clip URL The psychological dread and torment of prison confinement. Iyrania Hill recalls officers reprimanding inmates like herself with tickets for displaying family cards on their cell wall, forcing them to take it down. Pamela Thomas says that some daughters of women sentenced to life in prison will intentionally commit a crime when they turn 17-years-old just to have the chance to spend time with their mother.

25:02Copy video clip URL “Abuse by Guards.” Women tell their stories of the compounding factors of sexual and physical abuse, sexism, and racism they experience from prison guards.

27:30Copy video clip URL “Healthcare in Prison.” JoAnn Franklin describes sexist practices that discriminated in the care for male versus female prisoners. Others talk about neglect of dead prisoners in their cells, the harshness of mental illness, and the coercion by prison staff to keep inmates hooked on medication. More footage of Thomas’s spoken word performance.

30:34Copy video clip URL Women reflect on the importance of building solidarity with other women in prison, surviving their time in prison despite the brutality of the prison industrial complex.

31:13Copy video clip URL “The Lasting Effects of Prison.” Overcoming narratives of individual self-blame, the disparities in drug treatment between men and women, and the shattering effects of prison on one’s identity, spirit, and sense of compassion.

34:22Copy video clip URL “Generating Discussion.”

35:32Copy video clip URL Credits.



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