Curatorial Projects > The Prison Project (2008)

Arthur Huang & Sonia McKenna
8,640,346 : 173,312 : 29,156 - Threads of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 2008

Clothing, in particular, the uniform, carries preconceived associations of class, power, and privilege. The unraveling of clothing representing different populations affected by California’s current penal system allows for a different perspective on the impact of the prison system on society at large.

Threads unraveled from blue denim garments represent the California adult prisoner population, approximately 173,300 (1). Threads unraveled from olive green garments represent the population of Correctional Officers working within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, approximately 29,100 (2). Multi-colored threads represent prisoners’ and victims’ family members, and by extension, society at large - an estimated 8.6 million out of the total California population of 36.5 million.

With each six-inch piece of thread representing ten individuals, the artists have created three piles of threads displayed as points on an equilateral triangle to demonstrate the interrelationships amongst the different populations.

(1)(2) Compiled from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation website.

The Prison Project

February 20 - March 29, 2008
Intersection for the Arts
San Francisco, CA

Photo credit: Scott Chernis