Regina José Galindo's "America's Family Prison" 2008 is on view at MoMA as part of the exhibition "Signals. How Video Transformed the World" from March 5 through July 8, 2023.
In 2008, the artist rented a cell from a leading American vendor of private prisons and placed it in an exhibition gallery. Reflecting on the family cells at T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Texas—which is currently used to detain non-US citizens awaiting the outcome of their immigration status—Galindo occupied the rented cell with her family for 24 hours. This video documents the experience, which took place behind closed doors, and comments on the contemporary migration process between Central America and the US.
Video is everywhere today—on our phones and screens, defining new spaces and experiences, spreading memes, lies, fervor, and power. Shared, sent, and networked, it shapes public opinion and creates new publics. In other words, video has transformed the world. Bringing together a diverse range of work from the past six decades, Signals reveals the ways in which artists have posed video as an agent of global change—from televised revolution to electronic democracy.
The exhibition highlights over 70 media works, drawn primarily from MoMA’s collection, with many never before seen at the Museum. Featured artists include John Akomfrah, Gretchen Bender, Dara Birnbaum, Tony Cokes, Amar Kanwar, New Red Order, Nam June Paik, Sondra Perry, Martine Syms, Stan VanDerBeek, and Ming Wong. Signals enables audiences to experience video art’s wildly varied formats, settings, and global reach, from closed-circuit surveillance to viral video, from large-scale installation to social networks.
With this broad range of forms and media, artists have championed and questioned the promise of video. Some have hoped to create entirely new networks of communication, democratic engagement, and public participation. Others have protested the rise of commercial and state control over information, vision, and truth itself. Signals focuses on the ways in which artists have used video to ask urgent questions about society and propose new models of public life.