chuan
khoo
artist, designer, educator


To Our Beloved Prisons


Electronics, industrial automation hardware, 3D-printed material


2013


Chance, Luck & Accident
The Substation, Singapore

There are times when well-intended systems and processes bring about massive improvements in efficiency.

There are also times – regardless of whether we have a choice or not – when we ignore our empathy for others, and forget how to live with messy emotions and other side-effects of social interactions that some cultures and societies prefer not to deal with.

Our self-constructed prisons rise up, corrupting our thoughts as our society answers the calls for a new era of Taylorism, fuelled by the evergreen promise of pure economic progress.

To Our Beloved Prisons tells a story of a machine, programmed to endlessly travel back and forth on a fixed rail. The machine is equipped with a camera, and with the help of a magnifying lens, is instructed, through its code, to read only the following three words stuck on vertical rods alongside the entire length of the rail: “Everything Is Fine”.

However, it fails to read the other words along other rods, as the machine was never designed to be capable of reading these words: fear, longing, hubris, hope.

The choice of using industrial automation hardware juxtaposes modern civilisation’s progress and technological advancements with our cold, calculative approach of achieving highly efficient throughput.