I spent a day at HMP Barlinnie installing the exhibition and it was quite some feat. I went back this morning to install the video I’d shot and edited and still no matter how many times I go back to the place it always leaves me feeling empty. The residency has been a fantastic opportunity and allowed me access to a hidden world most of us know nothing about or care to know, but one image that will stay with me from this morning is watching prisoners being liberated; plastic bags of belongings in hand, walking out of the big gates at Barlinnie with no-one to meet them. One thing I’m constantly reminded of is that it could be any one of us.
The Barlinnie show is obviously a very private one but I’m more than happy with that for a number of reasons, primarily that it is being shown first to the people who took part. This is important to me.
The exhibition consists of large format images exploring various crime and justice spaces, the portrait series, audio (prisoner narratives and Michel Foucault) and an installation set within the prison library (video). When I spoke to my friend Alex Boyd about my installation idea he said it reminded him of the gallows.
Here’s a sneak preview of The Gallows. The public show is in late February 2013 at The Briggait, Glasgow.
Thank you to Derek McGill and the staff at HMP Barlinnie.