Maximum Security, 50 States, Rhode Island
2 color silkscreen on paper
This wallpaper was adapted from a fragment of a19th century toile pattern that I found on Ebay. I replaced the buildings in the original with images of Howard Prison, now known as the Adult Correctional Institution in Cranston, RI. Barbed wire festoons, barred windows and weapons were also drawn into the original pattern. Howard Prison was built in the 19th century, a period of prison reform and expansion, as well as a period of expanding material wealth for the growing middle class. Wallpaper was a sign of this wealth, and it was used extensively in home decoration. Toile and other panoramic papers gave viewers a sense of an expansive tranquility. This altered toile highlights the cost of that tranquility, pointing to our current culture of incarceration and referencing the philosopher Jeremy Benthem’s idea of the panopticon as a surveillance device, an all-seeing eye that instills behavior control through paranoia.
Photo Courtesy the RISD Museum
Photo Courtesy the RISD Museum
50 States: Wisconsin
5 color screen print with gun powder on coated paper
A series of wallpapers that amend historic wallpapers with images of US maximum security prisons. Based on a Zuber design, I replaced the original structures with images of Waupun Prison, a 19th century maximum security prison in Wisconsin. I adapted the trellis with barbed wire and used gunpowder in printing the last two layers.
Textile, wallpaper, venus flytraps, rug, slippers, embroidery and alarm
10' x 6' x 5'
This installation is named for the central watchtower— the Inspection House, in Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon—the central viewing space from which an institution keeps a watchful eye over it’s prisoners. Each of the letters in the embroidery is an aerial view of a prison, spelling out Home Sweet Home. The patterns in the wallpaper and slippers are from security envelopes from government and corporate surveillance patterns. I included the venus fly traps because of their ability to trap prey. By inserting objects and imagery about control and surveillance, I emphasize the paranoia that is part of contemporary surveillance culture and the injustices hidden in plain sight, woven into the fabric of comfortable living spaces.
Visibility is a Trap
screen printed toile wallpaper and textile with images of RI ACI, bird cage, lamp with 19th century print of dueling birds and braided rug
8’ x 6’ x 5’
The door of the bird cage is made in the shape of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, a late 18th century prison plan that was circular in shape and had a central watchtower. I use repeating circular patterns throughout this installation, including in the braided rug, a sign of home and hearth and also of women’s work. The dueling birds, cage and toile entangled with barbed wire reveal power structures present in everyday life and suggest that even in domestic space feelings of unease and entrapment are ever-present patterns of behavior.
Home Sweet Home
objects, textiles and papers including imagery of maximum security prisons
10 x 6 x 5'
This installation includes examples from my Maximum Security 50 States wallpapers and textiles. On the wall is 50 States: Wisconsin, a 5 color screen print with gun powder on coated paper. The chair is upholstered with 50 States, Rhode Island, and the floor cloth is painted with the plan of Jeremy Bentham's panopticon. There are two embroideries: the Home Sweet Home Embroidery is made of letters that are adapted from aerial views of prisons. On the table is an embroidery of a guard tower. Also included is a perpetual calendar and a cactus to reference time, labor and tenacity.
The detail from this this installation includes examples from my Maximum Security 50 States wallpapers and textiles. The chair is upholstered with 50 States, Rhode Island, and the floor cloth is painted with the plan of Jeremy Bentham's panopticon. On the table is an embroidery of a guard tower. Also included is a perpetual calendar and a cactus to reference time, labor and tenacity. The slippers are printed with security envelope patterns.