The Judgement – Installation

“The Judgement” is an installation of 46 uniquely distorted plaster heads, roughly human sized. Each one represents someone who was on death row in the United States, but subsequently found not guilty.  There is one head for each case since 2001.

The text “blindfolds” on the faces come from The Death Penalty Information Center and The Innocence Project.  They contain a brief description of each person’s case and ordeal.  The text on the heads is a deep red, except for one which is a dark gray; he was killed. To read the text is not easy. It requires the viewer to pace back and forth, as a prisoner would, to read the story. The exercise becomes tedious, and the two difficult minutes spent trying to read about a prisoner serve only to emphasize the horror of what you read – that prisoners spend years sometimes over a decade, on death row.

The heads were all cast from the same latex mold of a styrofoam mannequin head which was distorted each time before plaster was poured. The result is that some look masculine, some feminine, some black, white, Asian… They also all bear the same scar – a defect in the mold – which marks as them as all coming from the same mold. The idea is our lot in life owes a lot to chance; we are all figuratively cast from the same mold, but how we wind up is often beyond our control, as is certainly the case with the accused in this piece, victims of overzealous prosecutors and police.

From a formal perspective there is an interesting contradiction between what looks like like light styrofoam but is actually a heavy, hard object. Also, the text transfer on a 3D surface requires a great deal of care.

The installation itself resembles a crowd, mostly looking down on you.  The title “The Judgement” comes for the sensation of being surrounded by this crowd of people, and it is they who are judging you.  The more obvious interpretation of the title is valid as well.

For the geeky, I used OpenOffice for the word processing. The font used is named “Liberation Sans”

The Judgement - Death Penalty Exonerations this Millenium

Individual Heads

Installation hanging in L's Caffe

Closeup from the right profile

From Left

Some beige heads without text (ALL SOLD)

Two heads without text (One on left is sold)