About Texts Map

Rochester Decarceration Research Initiative, University of Rochester #theonlythingIcanseeisthesky

The only thing I can see is the sky was a collaborative project initiated by artist and educator Evelyne Leblanc-Roberge, Associate Professor of Art and Lens Based Media and research assistant Tracy Stuber, Phd candidate in Visual & Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester. This project was funded by a Provost’s University Research Award (2018-2019) and part of the Rochester Decarceration Research Initiative.

We think of the sky as an infinite open space. This perspective shifts when the sky is the only thing one can see from the outside, when it becomes a tangible surface, another wall.

This project culminated in a public installation at the vacant Monroe Theater (585 Monroe Ave, Rochester NY, 14604), visible between April and October 2019, a series of flags, and newspaper prints using the motif of sky to talk about transparency, incarceration and public spaces.

The windows of the empty theater and a newspaper became the frames for photographic images of sky embed with commissioned texts by people affected by incarceration. The texts were written in response to 33 photographs of sky. These images were taken on Google Street View above or around a jail, prison or detention center within a radius of two-hour drive of Rochester, NY. The viewfinder is looking above the buildings to collect fragmented inverted maps of these locations.

> email: evelyne.leblanc-roberge@rochester.edu


585 Monroe Avenue
Rochester, NY 14604

About the Rochester Decarceration Research Initiative

The Rochester Decarceration Research Initiative (RDRI) is an interdisciplinary collaboration of 8 people at the University of Rochester, aiming to use research and teaching to better understand how mass incarceration shapes our city, how incarceration impacts families and families members returning home, to combat its effects, and to imagine transformative possibilities for the future.