This project started with me exploring not only how we value objects, but also how we value people. During my initial research I decided to take a closer look and concentrate on the prison system and its treatment of inmates. The gathering of evidence and facts started with a visit to Eastern State Penitentiary located in Philadelphia, USA, the prison is ‘famed’ for introducing the practice of 24hr solitary confinement. The once unique architectural design of the prison has subsequently influenced prison architecture throughout the world, including London's Pentonville prison.
After the fascinating prison tour of Eastern State Penitentiary, I began to question the very nature of prison, and wanted to further explore the different aspects of a world I had no experience of and could never really comprehend. I found reading prisoner stories the most informative and honest - this is where my pieces take their main inspiration from.
Behaviour Modification is a technique used by the prison system to try and increase or decrease a particular type of behaviour. One of these methods is feeding inmates ‘Nutra Loaf ‘made from the blended ingredients of an entire meal which is then baked
What I found particularly interesting was how they served it, instead of a food tray you are given your meal in a brown paper bag.
This is a form of punishment and some states in the U.S have chosen to ban the practice in an attempt to ‘humanise' how they treat inmates. I wanted to take the brown paper bag which is used as part of the punishment and give some power back to the prisoners through design.
The words stitched into the paper are quotes found on the walls of Reading prison, some were scratched into walls, written under shelves or marked across doors. These powerful words reflect a viewpoint and voice we, the ‘onlookers’, would never hear.
The font of the texts is also significant, a number of light switches in the prison had ‘room service' written on them. I wanted to juxtapose the two experiences, one of being in prison and the other staying at a luxury hotel. The font was inspired by hotel branding.
The paper brooches can be crushed easily, highlighting the asymmetric fight of a prisoner verse the prison system.