Archive: Issue No. 59, July 2002

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Hard Place

Wackenhut (Corporation) Detention Center, Queens, NY


'Hard Place' by Jenny Polak and Lauren Gill
http://tenement.org/HardPlace/

In view of recent television revelations of what goes on inside jails and the abuses suffered by illegal immigrants to this country, it is interesting to view a web project from the US on a similar subject. British artist Jenny Polak, working in Lower Manhattan in 1996, noticed that sometimes when she was near her office she would see a shackled man being pulled along the street. She discovered the nondescript building opposite her workplace was in fact a detention centre for the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the US. Very little information was available, but over the next few years, Polak slowly built up a file of information about such centres. Soliciting drawings and tapes from those who had been inside, Polak used an architectural software programme to create virtual versions of 10 detention centres for a site developed in conjunction with Lauren Gill entitled 'Hard Place'.

Clicking on a keyhole icon gives access to the brutal architecture of the centres and details of some rooms, and one can also view drawings by prisoners and pages of detention centre rules, or listen to audio clips.

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