Studies from the abandoned
New Mexico State Penitentiary
6 minutes 42 seconds

dance improvisations by
Mary Anne Santos Newhall
mask by Gina Telcocci

The abandoned New Mexico State Penitentiary, the site of one of the worst prison riots in US history, is the setting for experimental dance video that explores the interior landscape of the body and its response to the complexities and injustices of the contemporary world.

On February 2, 1980, inmates at the Penitentiary took over the prison. They killed and dismembered 33 of their population and burned, flooded, and ravaged the building. The abandoned site is a landscape of extremes containing scorched wire, broken glass, paint peeling from fire and flood and miles of razor wire set against the expansive, unblemished New Mexico sky. This location of extremes magnifies the violence and compassion that both reside in the human heart.

The events of the riot have passed from common memory, but the festering potential for brutality and misuse of power continues. These re-emerge on today’s world stage.

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