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Parsons School of Design MFA Design and Technology program theses2001 ➔ Prisom: An Exploration of Fortress and Prism


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Emily Duwel (designer)




“Prisom” is a structure foremost—an enclosed space defined by two 8-foot Lshaped  louen panels studded with carriage bolts; at the wall’s narrow  intersection stands a prism, or giant three-dimensional triangle, made up on  two sides of 2-way mirror and on the third of translucent plexiglass. A video is  projected along the spine of the prism from above, the image refracted and  distorted within. The images themselves are abstracted, obscured and the  mechanism as a whole reacts to the presence of intruders. Intimated are shots  of apartments or office windows as screened through blinds, the blinds  themselves shifting in and out of focus; overlays of interiors reflected onto  computer arrays; the diluted light of blue screens. These images are meant to  suggest hidden spaces of cooption and control as well as the hidden spaces of  interior lives both viewed from the voyeur’s (or hunter’s) blind.  

What is left at the end of the day is a structure and a series of thoughts and  templates leading hopefully to some future endeavor. The process that led to  the Prisom’s articulation was borne from extensive readings, occasional  conversations, discussions in Chris Kirwan’s thesis studio and long periods of  reflection; however at some point the piece had of necessity to take on its own  life and no longer serve as epistolary. In elaborating some of the thoughts or  considerations that informed its production, I do not wish to suggest that this  paper is the sole “reading” possible of the object itself for I would hope the  piece capable of generating other readings beyond what I offer here. Instead,  the following paper reflects some of the considerations and theories that went  into the development of the “Prisom.”



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