The Prison as Resistance

5 4 3 unnamed

The Prison as Resistance

Tommaso Mennuni_Masters at the Politecnico of Milan


A problematic which necessitates a solution is that of overcrowding in prisons. The problem of an excessive population of prisoners goes to damage the conditions of the inmates themselves who are forced to live in minute cells. To denounce this situation one has thought to take to the extreme some of the key factors which characterize nowadays prisons. Through the use of Bentham’s panoptical one has designed a new device for terror.


Who influences you graphically?

Surely the main references which inspired me for this work are the prisons of Giovanni Battista Piranesi, published in 1745 and collected in an album.
The spatial composition of these views is based on the juxtaposition of architectural elements and devices of torture with the sole purpose of conveying a certain visual effect, that is the total loss of perspective laws.
The prospective movement in the direction of the background is often hindered by an arch covering, in the upper part of the press, the rungs of a ladder, suggesting elevations greater than those visible;

“…l’eroe del Dramma delle Carceri è lo Spazio.”
Marguerite Yourcenar, La mente nera di Piranesi, 1962

What dictated the choice of monochromatic images?

The choice of monochromatic images is inherent in the project. Talking about a reality quite raw, like the inside of prisons, I thought that the absence of colors was the best solution. The absence of colour inherently wants to suggest the absence of a possible way out to the real world. Besides having as main reference the engravings of Piranesi I could not do otherwise.

What is the relationship between the objects in the prison cells and the the thesis itself?

The detainees, finished their period of imprisonment, may remain inside the prisons. Their will is manifested by creating a domestic environment within the cell. Living in the cell if it was an imposition is now a choice of the same inmate. So, just as in an apartment, it can determine personal scenes. Moreover the same engravings of Piranesi can be read as the colossal sets, a world enclosed within walls which do not see the end, in the same way, in image proposed the central perspective, while suggesting the direction of cell development, does not determine its greatness in a precise way.

In view 1 what dictated the choice of imagery in the background?

My will in view1 was to offer a gloomy world and stuffy suggested by these portions of vertical architectures. The idea of collage as manifesto has been dictated by the course taught by Prof. Degli Esposti. The man, facing to the balustrade, lies in an overwhelming world, which will be the main emotion suggested by the entire work.


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