This homely quilt is made up of a series of circular appliquéd forms on a calico field, each with a central surveillance camera that watches the observer. The inclusion of surveillance cameras in what we think of as protected space suggests the insidious omnipresence of surveillance, and its ability to instill paranoia, unease and behavior regulation. I want to draw the viewer into a familiar space that then exposes contradictions and gives clues about how our culture is at risk.
Based on a Friendship Quilt, each quilt block is embroidered with the banks that contribute most to climate change, due to their investment in coal.
P is for Panopticon, Maximum Security Quilt appears to be traditional child’s alphabet quilt pattern—a grid of bordered blocks, each containing the appliquéd shape of a letter. The letterforms in this quilt are off kilter, replaced by aerial views of maximum security prisons. I found these aerial views on Josh Begley’s staggering website Prison Map http://prisonmap.com. When one prison on his site resembled an E, I wondered if I could find every letter in the alphabet in his database. I searched and began assembling an alphabet. It was devastatingly simple, with several prisons resembling S’s and many like M’s.
I cut the letter forms from fabrics printed with security envelope patterns from government and corporate correspondence, to locate funding that profits from mass incarceration. I use fabric from uniforms and dress shirts to pose questions about responsibility: individual, governmental and corporate, and bedding for the quilt back, which holds the imprint of the body.