prisão paraíso
research project / 2018 - 2019

thanks to the project of gatomorto and EDA the empty prison in Trafaria was open to be transformed into an artists paradise. from August to September 2018 different artists in different terms and constellations was given the chance to live, work and experience a very special community life in between the walls of an ancient prison. during the weeks an ephemeral infrastructure was build for daily needs like constructing beds for shared bedrooms, establishing a shower and improving the kitchen. all happened in the wood workshop of gatomorto with skilled craftmanship and with lots of imagination. beside working on the infrastructure it was possible to the think about a future use of the prison which is still uncertain. In 2019 a new round was initiated to host ten multidisciplinary artists from Hamburg. 

as specialised in weaving it was a challenge to work without a loom so I started to collect and archive the colours of the prison and the neighbourhood around with the method of archiving via scanning in 2018. colour was also found in the kitchen while cooking and a method was established to experiment with peels from beetroots and onion skins. in parallel I worked on a botanical installation with lost and found plants from and around the prison area. In 2019 the residency was allowed to take part in the historical and protected part of the prison.  So I was able to harves resin from the 50-60 years old dragon trees that led to a various reddish colour range. The samples were made on pre-mordant natural fiber material like silk, wool and cotton. Furthermore handmade paper, rice paper and thai cigarette paper was used.

finding out the approximate age of the dragon trees happend by a coincidence. A former prisoner came by the gate and entered the building. He did a tour around and gave a clarification about the space, his experiences and the garden. He left telling us that the prison is a good place with good energy - he preferred to be a prisoner than serving the military during the authoritarian regime. On the 25th of April 1974 the military coup characterised by red carnations overthrew the regime.

photography: Nicole Kiersz & Philipp Meuser