Rewind is an installation demonstrating the parallels between slavery and the contemporary prison industrial complex through animation, digital stills, sculpture, original music compositions, interactive sound and video. Although slave and convict have different names, these labels share similar limitations and expectations. Both have faced exploitation for labor, a loss of rights and disenfranchisement. Currently over 2.3 million people are incarcerated in the U.S.; 40 percent are African Americans, although they comprise only 12 percent of the country’s total population. In Rewind, Paul Rucker examines the vast numbers affected by both institutions and the disparity in the racial makeup of the prison population.
Paul Rucker is a visual artist, composer, and musician who often combines media, integrating live performance, sound, original compositions, and visual art. His work is the product of a rich interactive process, through which he investigates community impacts, human rights issues, historical research, and basic human emotions surrounding particular subject matter. Much of his current work focuses on the Prison Industrial Complex and the many issues accompanying incarceration in its relationship to slavery. He has presented performances and visual art exhibitions across the country and has collaborated with educational institutions to address the issue of mass incarceration. Presentations have taken place in schools, active prisons and also inactive prisons such as Alcatraz. Paul Rucker is a iCubed Visiting Arts Fellow embedded at the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. He was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017.