Architectural Healing ? ≠ Frame of Desire

Video installations

These looping works were filmed in the Haarlem prison, “De Koepel,” a 19th century prison panopticon in 2018, four years after being discontinued as an active prison, and one year after being used for housing for refugees from Syria. The panopticon part of the prison did not house refugees.

Panopticon prisons, first designed by Jeremy Bentham in 18th century, were a popular design for that time as they made a way for a guard to see others without being seen himself. Michel Foucault famously wrote about the panopticon design in his book, Discipline & Punish (1979), using panopticons as a metaphor for the way society subjugates its citizens. “He is seen, but he does not see; he is an object of information, never a subject in communication.” 

Today, cameras and other forms of surveillance are routine within incarceration. While the panopticon has become an outdated symbol of overt and grotesque punishment, current technological practices belie a more sinister system, where human contact is removed almost entirely.

The first video installation, Architectural Healing ?, questions whether the purpose of a building can be changed or inverted if it retains its original structure. The video installation begins in a more contemporary part of the prison, the solitary confinement chamber and moves through the panopticon winding itself around the building.

Architectural Healing ?

Credits: Directed & Conception: Juliacks Camera & Equipment: Lars Berg Performers: Veronika Driedger, Toemas Stieffenhofer-Brandson, Juliacks, Sono Support from the Mondriaan Fonds

The second video installation, Frame of Desire- Frame of Emancipation, is a stop motion animation that is played on an infinite loop.

Inside of the panopticon there are around 300 prison cells each outfitted with a framed bulletin board, a vacant canvas of expression. This film is made out of photographs of all of these framed spaces of desire, of emancipation from the prison used last in 2014.