Ashley Hunt is an artist and activist who uses video, photography, mapping and writing to engage social movements, modes of learning and public discourse. Among his interests are structures that allow people to accumulate power and those which keep others from getting power, while learning from the ways that people come to know, respond to and conceive of themselves within these structures. Rather than seeing art and activism as two exclusive spheres of practice, he approaches them as complimentary, drawing upon the ideas of social movements and cultural theory alike — the theories and practices of each informing the other and pushing their limitations.
This has included investigations into the prison, the dismantling of welfare state institutions, war and disaster capitalism, documentary representations and engagement with political activism and community organizing. His recent performance, 'Notes on the Emptying of a City', explores the first-person politics of being in New Orleans with a camera in the months following Hurricane Katrina, when he engaged with community activists to research the city’s refusal to evacuate the Orleans Parish Prison.
Other projects include the ongoing 'Corrections Documentary Project'which centers around the contemporary growth of prisons and their centrality to today’s economic restructuring and the politics of race; '9 Scripts from a Nation at War', a collaboration with Andrea Geyer, Sharon Hayes, Katya Sander and David Thorne; and an ongoing collaboration wtih Taisha Paggett, 'On Movement, Thought and Politics'.
Hunt's most recent project, titled 'Communograph', was conceived as a collaborative, multi-platform public project, built for the sharing of community-based research and authorship in Houston's Third Ward. Situated and built in dialogue with Project Row Houses, the project explores the possibilities that strategies of culturally-based research, exhibition and dialogue can offer to constituencies, social organization and value systems that extend beyond a market defined art world.
Hunt’s work has been screened and exhibited at the P.S.1/MoMA, the New Museum, Project Row Houses, Documenta 12, the Gallery at REDCAT, Nottingham Contemporary, the 3rd Bucharest Biennial, the Tate Modern, the Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, as well as numerous grassroots and community based venues throughout the U.S. His writings and publication include, 'Itch Journal' (’10, ’08), 'Printed Project 12' (’09), the 'Journal of Aesthetics and Protest' (’08, ’07 & ’05), 'On Knowledge Production: A Critical Reader' (BAK ’08), Art Journal (’07), 'Chto Delat' (’07), 'Rethinking Marxism' (’06), Artwurl.org (’03–’05), and 'Sandbox Magazine' (’02).