In 2015 I was in Federal Prison and worked in the welding shop, repairing and making things for the prison, one day I was asked to make several cages for the inmates that were in a unit, were the inmates were in solitary confinement for life.
The psychiatrists thought the inmates would benefit from group therapy, but they were too dangerous to be near other people. They had to be close enough to have group therapy but not close enough to endanger each other. I would go on to make 8 of these cells one handicap access . They were installed in a large empty room.
When you first get in prison they put you in solitary confident, so you get a taste of it- the absence sound, touch, speech, color wears on you, some of the inmates will bang and make noise just to make the guards come over and make them stop because something is better than nothing, As I made these cells I would remember the absence of things in solitary confident.
1. Institutional Tan referees to the color I painted the cells in Prison after I made the cells I was asked to paint them on the can it said Institutional Tan, I ironically we were not allowed to tan to sit out in the sun, so an institutional tan would be pale skin, I missed sitting out side sitting in the sun, so I would walk out to the baseball field and sit at first base bench and take my shoes off and put my feet in the sand. Pretending to be at the beach.
2. The cells were originally 4x4 after we made one and set it up the Doctors realized it was to small so we changed it to be 4x5.
3. The little doors is for taking your handcuffs off, your hands are cuffed behind you and you are put into the cell and the door is locked after you then you back up to the little door and out your hands thru so the guard takes your cuffs off.
4. All inmates in Federal prison work, I was fortunate enough to be at the welding shop where we had constant work. My Welding boss offered for us to not make these cages because he thought it was crewel to make inmates make cages for other inmates, I knew that it would be more painful for me to watch and not help, I saw making these as a mediation as a way of using up my time.
5. Each Prison is run differently depending on the Warden, the warden sets the tone for the rest of the prison; I was in a hospital prison when you put people away for long periods of time they get old and sick. As an artist I had the unique experience of witness and made art work from my experiences