What is Transparent / Opaque
I explore space as an institutionalized demarcation of power. Through a minimalist approach to the material, I examine the expressive possibilities of abstraction. The act of violent erasure, concealment, and obstruction creates a subjective psychological space of history and memory. By revealing the architectural surface as an index of violence, I question architecture itself as a physical representation of visible and invisible state power.
In the series Golden Time of Metropolitan Correctional Center (2016-2017), the photographic analysis shifts between the physical structure itself and the concepts the structure manifests. Designed by modernist architect Harry Weese, the triangular skyscraper is a modernized prison plan of social reformer Jeremy Bentham developed for the surveillance of prisoners. The radial blueprint of the MCC prison reduces “blind spots” and allows for effective supervision and control.
Not only the structure of the architecture itself but also the medium of light operates as an instrument of state power. Over time the light changes from natural to artificial orange light illuminating the façade of the prison. During the daytime, the brown glass of the windows obscures the interior of the prison. During the nighttime, the artificial light cast on the surface of the prison functions as surveillance. The narrow, slit-like windows reveal the silhouettes of inmates inside the prison. Their gaze extends beyond the narrow windows, which confine the human figure. A man dressed in an orange jumpsuit is obscured by the thick glass and metal bars of an 11-feet-by-5-inch window.
Although the prison is a public institution, funded by taxpayer dollars, its function, operation, and configuration is concealed from the public. The architecture of the prison blurs the boundary between public and private space, confronting the viewer with the question—What is revealed and what is concealed?