Pudu Jail’s Graffiti: Aesthetics Beyond The Walls of the Prison Cells

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Exhibition Spaces - Virtual and Real

Presentation Title:

  • Pudu Jail’s Graffiti: Aesthetics Beyond The Walls of the Prison Cells

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Abstract:

  • This research is concerned with a specific genre on graffiti that was documented within the duration of 2 months (18th October 2002 till the 28th December 2002) in Pudu Jail, a prison facility that lies between Jalan Hang Tuah and Jalan Pudu in Kuala Lumpur. A phenomenon known as the “Prisoner’s Graffiti” was initially noted on the first day of the observation. Intricate, yet, highly simplistic texts and rendered illustrations were found imprinted on the walls of the cell rooms. “Pudu Jail’s Graffiti”; was the updated term to be concluded for the title of this study (as of February 2005). To this particular genre of graffiti, it had emerged as a part of an expression and to be derived as an identifiable subject matter. The researcher had focused on the graffiti solely through a constructed scale of taxonomy and derived from developed theories that falls in the same line as Parsons’ (1987) studies in the interest of familiar artistic individual experiences within the collected samples. A mass series of documented photographs, were cross referenced from general recognition in visual identification in Panofsky’s (1939) iconographical identification of Art, and with relationship in the studies done on the taxonomy on street graffiti such as Blume’s (1985) “Graffiti”. As such, these writings then could be seen in a different point of view, as the frequency had begun to take pattern, within the confined walls of the abandoned prison.

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