As of now I am in the process of elaborating on a project from last semester and working on a new project.
The project from last semester, I printed a lino-cut of a prison cell on to pages out of various textbooks. I have a large relatively large quantity of these prints, some small and some larger, and I’m working on picking out more textbook pages on which to print. I want a really large quantity of them and as of now i think I’m not gonna decide what I want them to look like as a finished product until i’m putting it up in the gallery.
The other project i’m working on, i’m having a little more trouble finding a way to put it together that I actually like. Basically the idea is to take various terms from criminology theories and portray them as identifiers of criminals in the prison population.
For example, there is a theory called strain theory that posits, in the simplest form, that people commit crime because the goal every American strives for is the “American Dream,” but not all Americans have the means to achieve that end, so they resort to illegitimate (criminal) means of attaining it. The theorist calls these individuals “innovators.”
One way I’ve considered conveying this idea is through the use of the “hello my name is…” name tags. What I like about them are they are so recognizable and as Andy put it when I told him about the idea, they are polite for you, and serve as a means by which you identify yourself, even if they usually just read your name. I also enjoy the fact that a prisoner’s actual “name-tag” is just a number. That’s all they get to identify them, but instead of putting a number on the name-tag, I wish to put these terms like “the American dream,” “innovator,” ect. I like this idea, but the problem I’m having is finding a way to convey that these are prisoners. I haven’t found anything i find satisfying yet, so we shall see.
The other way I considered to realize this idea was by utilizing inmate Id numbers as a way to show that they are a prison population. As you’ll see in one of my pics, one way I did this was by creating a kind of manifest that just reads “Prisoner 06342578: Innovator,” and so on down the list. I’m starting to have a fondness for this approach. I like that it has 2 forms of identification, neither of which serve to identify x individual at all (seeing as my point is not that this prisoner is indeed an “innovator,” but rather to demonstrate the immensity of theories out there that all say completely different things, making the issue of ‘what makes one criminal,’ extremely complex) I think I’m gonna put this list and expand it on the computer and print it out and see how I like it.
I also attempted taking the above two ideas and combining them in a sense by taking small canvas plates and writing/painting on them to create a name-tag-like thing with the 2 identifiers, but I’m not a big fan so far. I deff need a smaller paint brush. But what I don’t like about it is that it doesn’t have the formality of the list idea, and it doesn’t have the personal effect of the actual name-tags. It seems more like an attempt to arts it up, and I think it’s unnecessary.