Ashley Hunt is an artist and activist who uses video, photography, mapping and writing to engage social movements, modes of learning and public discourse. Among his interests are structures that allow people to accumulate power and those which keep others from getting power, while learning from the ways people come to know, respond to and conceive of themselves within these structures. Rather than seeing art and activism as two exclusive spheres of practice, he approaches them as complimentary, drawing upon the ideas of social movements and cultural theory alike — the theorizing and practices of each informing the other.
This has included investigations into the prison, the demise of welfare state institutions, war and disaster capitalism, documentary representations and political activism. His recent performance, Notes on the Emptying of a City, explores the first-person politics of being in New Orleans with a camera in the months following Hurricane Katrina, when he engaged with community activists to research the city’s refusal to evacuate the Orleans Parish Prison.
Other projects include a number of works included under the umbrella of The Corrections Documentary Project, which centers around the contemporary growth of prisons and their centrality to today’s economic restructuring and the politics of race; 9 Scripts from a Nation at War, a collaboration with Andrea Geyer, Sharon Hayes, Katya Sander and David Thorne, and an ongoing collaboration wtih Taisha Paggett, On Movement, Thought and Politics.
Hunt’s work has been screened and exhibited at the P.S.1/MOMA, Project Row Houses, Documenta 12, the Gallery at REDCAT, Nottingham Contemporary, the 3rd Bucharest Bienial, the Tate Modern, the Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Atlanta, as well as numerous grassroots and community based venues throughout the U.S. Writings and publication include,Printed Project 12 (’09), the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest (‘08, ‘07 & ‘05), On Knowledge Production: A Critical Reader (BAK ’08), Art Journal (‘07), Chto Delat (‘07), Rethinking Marxism (‘06), and at Artwurl.org (‘03–‘05), and Sandbox Magazine (‘02) .