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Photo by Aad Hoogendoorn

In this event, artist Robert Glas and cultural theorist Hanneke Stuit will explore public perceptions and myths around imprisonment. They will each ask what characterizes the prevailing images and narratives of imprisonment, and what is left out of the picture and of consideration. Following their presentations curator Anke Bangma will guide a conversation between Robert, Hanneke and the audience.

English spoken | Free admission

Reservation mandatory via ticket page:
1. Click on ticket button
2. Go to the date March 24
3. Click on the event ‘Beeldvorming rondom gevangenzetten’ and reserve the desired number of tickets


Hanneke Stuit: The Carceral Idyll
The invention of the state prison at the end of the 18th century marked a shift from a punishment of the body to a disciplining of the soul, as famously described by Foucault. Punishment no longer took place in public but behind the closed doors of the prison, out of sight from broader society. In her talk, Hanneke Stuit will ask how prisons appear in public and popular discourses in The Netherlands. Which aspects of the prison are visible in the public domain and which parts remain closed off? What are the consequences of this tension between visibility and invisibility?

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Hanneke wonders why cultural imaginaries tend to focus on the prison as a spectacle, why they romanticize criminality, and why they lean so strongly on scripts from elsewhere, particularly from the US. As a possible explanation for these romanticisations, she offers the idea of the “carceral idyll”: the belief that confining people in the right way and in the right place will benefit all parties involved.

Robert Glas: Justice beyond Revenge
In his exhibition, artist Robert Glas invites us to confront views on imprisonment. The prevailing focus on harsh punishment seems almost unchallenged, but this was not always the norm. Until the mid-1980s, there was a lively public and political debate in The Netherlands about which response to criminal behaviour would best serve society.

This debate was spearheaded by Rotterdam legal scholar and abolitionist Louk Hulsman, who scrutinized the myths around the penal system, argued that incarceration is still a form of corporeal punishment, and devoted his career to concrete alternative solutions. With two video installations, both developed in collaboration with people with inside perspectives, Robert reignites this discussion. He reconstructed an architectural test model for a Rotterdam prison cell to use it as a film set and discussion piece.

Robert Glas’ exhibition ‘Justice Beyond Revenge—Recalling Louk Hulsman’ is on view at TENT until April 21. Hanneke Stuit is Assistant Professor at the Literary Studies and Cultural Analysis department of the University of Amsterdam. With her research around ‘the carceral idyll’ she is currently a fellow at NIAS.