Tue - Sat, 12 - 6PM / 212.937.6580 / 540 W 21st St. New York, NY 10011
White Video Visitation Torture
This artwork questions the use of Video Visitation technology introduced in US prisons over the past several years. The term "White Torture" originally comes from Iran, where intellectuals, activists and detainees themselves use it to refer to the use of incommunicado solitary confinement. In the installation a reproduction of the Video Visitation device is installed inside a small, uncomfortable white booth. One by one, audience members come inside the booth to watch the videos and pick up the phone receiver to try to communicate through the device. The videos played on the screen are clips recorded from the previous person in the booth. These recordings are extremely overexposed, with the white color and white noise in the speakers, making the images opaque and the sounds very hard to understand. The device plays in the previously recorded short video for each subsequent visitor. Afterwards, it publishes the clips on a public website. By taking part in a disturbed encounter with themselves, the installation's participants ultimately become prisoners of the mediated human interpersonal communication. The audience's experience in first person is a symbolic representation of White Torture - social and sensory isolation through both the attempt to communicate with someone not present, visible or audible, and the state of being under camera surveillance.