Cell 64, Cellblock 1 - Eastern State Penetentiary 1995
An installation at an historic 1829 prison, abandoned in 1960.
Cell 64, Cellblock 1 explores the idea of retreat and the self imposed isolation of artists. I created an imagined occupant who, using only the materials at hand, created what was necessary to make his home comfortable. A new self-contained room was constructed inside one of the deteriorating cells. In a reversal of the original cell, the door has a lock on the inside.
The scenerio is that a meal in a brown paper bag was delivered twice a day from the corner luncheonette and essentials provided by the prison, (A bar of soap, sheets, blanket, toothbrush, toothpaste, broom, portable toilet, cold water and a portable heater), offered materials to the occupant. Using only these materials he created tools and objects for comfort and pleasure. The soap was carved into a mold that produced toilet paper pulp handles for coffee cups. The black coffee, coffee with milk and coffee with sugar were evaporated and produced a set of watercolors. Toilet paper pulp was poured through perforated plastic food covers to make paper dishes. With coffee as paint and a pen carved from the broom handle, the occupant made drawings. A pair of shoes was fashioned from sheets of toilet paper laminated with thickened milk and broom straw.