commissioned for Factory Direct at the Arts Center of the
Maximum Security offers its audience an exhibition of architectural products designed for maximum security prisons. These products – eight-hundred pound capacity door hinges, a high-strength food pass made to restrict “contraband passage and inmate reach,” less than 2" thick foam mattresses for floor-fastened bunk beds made of 1/4" steel plate, an inoperable steel-framed window with 3/4" acrylic, and a door frame with deep-set mounting brackets to prevent violent removal – are displayed to acknowledge the potency of these objects as symbolic artifacts of the technological construct of the high-security prison.
These objects are arranged along a line, suspended at a height approximating their standard installation, but separated to allow the audience to move among them. Their engineering strength – and the expectation of prison violence that it presumes – is then counter-posed with the extremely banal descriptions and poignantly understated engineering drawings used in the manufacturer's product catalog to sell these products. This spatial setting frames the social and cultural manufacture of incarceration and the difficult contradictions inherent in the engineering and design of technologies which contribute to the way we understand imprisonment.