As a presentation of the crisis of global criminal justice systems, these letters visually convey the narratives, thoughts, and emotions of the people who are incarcerated. Located on the Highline in New York City, the exhibition needed a design to visually attract visitors that conveyed the seriousness of the subject matter and honored the writers who contributed their pieces without being overly didactic.
Emulating a prison cell, The Writing on the Wall recreates these largely unseen spaces in a public sphere. The installation’s design references the palimpsest-like writing on the walls of prison cells and layers these onto acrylic panels arranged in modules.
Design + Execution
The team developed bold graphic titling for the exhibition that formed a literal wall, broken by a stoke of writing pulled from the letters in the Exhibition. Additionally, they used large-scale writings by individuals in prison, thereby making a personal, hidden, and private experience public. The graphic approach was used in further iterations of the project that involved large projections of letters and writings onto courthouses and other civic buildings in different cities.
Manuel Miranda (lead designer)
Fred Pirlot (designer)
Chemistry Creative (fabricator)
Mass Design Group (architecture and graphics)
Cameron Blaylock (photography)