Ila Landsfengsel. Photo by Hilde Honerud.

Ila Landsfengsel. Photo by Hilde Honerud.

Horizon. Ila Prison, 2011. Light mode: Sunday morning. Programmed light box with LED screen, aluminum case with acrylic and Lexan fronts, 200 x 300 x 30 cm.

HORIZON

LIGHT BOX INSTALLATION FOR ILA PRISON

Ila Landsfengsel is a high-security prison in the outskirts of Oslo, incarcerating the most severe criminal offenders of Norway. In 2011, KORO (Public Art Norway) commissioned Elise Storsveen and I to propose work for two underground corridors. These are narrow transit areas connecting the living quarters with the work area, with many restrictions and security measures.

Given that the work is placed in their everyday surroundings, I wanted the work to pull back and demand little attention. Given the poor light conditions in the corridor there was a need for the work to be its own light source. And knowing that the prisoners stand at this security check point twice a day at approximately the same times, I wanted the work to mark time.

The result was Horizon, a large light box mounted on the back wall of the corridor, serving as a backdrop for the security check point. The light box move through color transitions specific to the day and time. Each day it fades from black, through sunset/sunrise-like colors, to white at mid day, then back again, through different colors, to black at night. The color transitions happen when the prisoners are entering and leaving the workplace. The kind of color transition is unique to each morning or afternoon of the week, and indirectly mark the time - what day it is and if it is before or after the usual time they are using the transit

For example, a ten minute delay in the morning means they pass the screen in a brighter state. Also, during a, say, five minute security check, there is a noticeable change in luminosity, towards bright (mornings) or dark (afternoons).

Produced by Signex AS in collaboration with Medialab.

Horizon. Ila Prison, 2011. Light mode: Wednesday morning. Programmed light box with LED screen, aluminum case with acrylic and Lexan fronts, 200 x 300 x 30 cm.