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Melanie Crean

Melanie Crean is an artist and educator whose work focuses on redistributing power and reframing dominant messaging. Her research-oriented practice integrates the study of representation in visual culture and technology with speculative design, time-based media, and participatory practices.

Her ongoing work counters the portrayal of cultural archetypes such as the criminal, the unruly woman and the nature of justice. In No Such Place as America, she facilitates youth and local law enforcement in Hartford CT to communicate without spoken language about trust, control and confrontation, using equine therapy. The For Fates project involves working with transformative justice peacekeepers to envision a future NYC thirty years after the close of the Rikers Island jail facility. Her recent collaborative project Mirror / Echo / Tilt, created with people affected by the justice system, focuses on shifting culturally embedded conceptions of criminality, using silent performance to create short films in decommissioned prisons and court houses.

Crean’s work investigates how history is written, how is recorded, and what can be read from evidence left behind in contested sites. Beyond place, these sites include various forms of media, archives, architecture and the human body.