exhibit : CROSSING THE SKYLINE (SAIC)
Location School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago IL
Design Aneesha Dharwadker
Fabrication TJ Bayowa, Hannah Brostoff, Yong Yi Ye
Curator Joseph Altshuler
Collaborators University of Illinois Library, Education Justice Project,
Date November 2019-January 2020
As we approach a new national election cycle, criminal justice reform will be a prominent topic in public discourse. This project serves as a reminder that beyond policy, the architecture of the prison system needs to be rethought. Rehabilitation can occur more successfully if the everyday spaces of corrections are reshaped to be more humane and accessible.
Crossing the Skyline establishes a blurred zone between the public and the imprisoned, where the primary activity is reading. While it is not intended to be a literal construction, it deploys architecture critically to generate new questions about the role, location, and physical form of prisons. Must incarceration always equal isolation? Can we provide other kinds spaces—especially hybrid or shared ones—that challenge ingrained instincts, fears, and stigmas about imprisonment? What positive effects can new, connective architectures have on a deeply fractured system? Finally, how can increased literacy assist in rehabilitation and reduce recidivism?
This exhibit models the Crossing the Skyline proposal at 1/2" = 1'. At this scale, an abstracted Harold Washington Library becomes a bookshelf for two types of texts:
The library within: books written by luminaries in prison
The library kept out: books banned from American prisons
Texts for the exhibit were generously loaned from the University of Illinois Library, the Education Justice Project, and the Human Rights Defense Center. Support for the exhibit was provided by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Illinois College of Fine and Applied Arts.
Download the exhibition pamphlet.
Photographs: Aneesha Dharwadker, Joseph Altshuler
Process and fabrication