Visibility is a trap
Decommissioned observation structure of HM Beechworth Prison, floor painting, steel rods, fluorescent lights, text.
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The town of Beechworth exists as vestige of colonisation. This colonisation has enabled a collective consciousness based around alternative narratives which, largely serve economies based on romantic notions of settler–hood. The central well of the HM Beechworth Prison acts as a figurative nexus of how power and visibility function in forming dominant narratives and minimising others. The panoptic dynamic of the prison, both in form and as nexus, incorporate notions Foucault’s ‘Panopticism’ whereby vision is central to the interrelationship of power and control. Rhall’s use of light seeks to further the symbolism of the panopticon whilst rendering it defunctionalised via reflections occurring within its own structure.
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Context: This installation formed part of a range of responses to the newly decommissioned Beechworth Goal of central Victoria. 2018 / Installation view / Group / Site responsive. Images: Aaron Christopher Rees