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Sheffield Hallam University
Art and Design Graduate Showcase

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Imogen Wells
The Hole: A Journey Through Solitude
Once the visitors have collected headphones to listen to the narrative through, they will begin their journey through the corridor on the right. Dark and with unlevel flooring, it’s designed to disorientate and unnerve users along with the prison soundscape playing through peoples headphones.

The Nelson Mandela Rules (2015) state that “All prisoners shall be treated with respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings. No prisoner shall be subjected to, and all prisoners shall be protected from, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Solitary confinement is a punishment deemed inhumane and degrading by many human rights groups globally because of the harsh effects on people’s physical and psychological health. These effects can include chronic depression, psychosis, paranoia, hypersensitivity, perceptual disorientation, blunting of apathy and self-mutilation. Those who’ve been subjected to solitary confinement are also 78% more likely to commit suicide within the first year of release as well as re-offend and show more violent behaviour (JAMA, 2019).

The Hole: A Journey Through Solitude is an exhibition experience was designed by Imi Wells to educate viewers about the harsh effects of long-term isolation and make them question the role it plays in criminal justice systems around the world. Visitors navigate themselves around the exhibition through dark and disorientating corridors into rooms that aim to put you into the shoes of prisoners and explore sensory deprivation. It’s a journey that’s shocking, emotional and unsettling

Here users will be able to experience what it’s like to be inside a prison cell. Staged to be someone’s cell, the room contains a few personal items, such as a photograph, to humanise the experience. In this room the narrative will start playing and the occupant of the cell will introduce you to life inside the hole.
The Hole Room Illustration – 24.05.2021
In this section visitors will come face to face with a giant squishy installation. Users are encouraged to touch and interact with the creature to create a physical experience that’s both comforting and unnerving. The narrative will be talking about the harsh affects long-term isolation has on people, including that of touch deprivation and hallucinations.
Consequences Room Illustration – 24.05.2021
‘How would you describe life inside solitary confinement? Draw, describe or create an image that represents your answer.’ This question was posed to people in solitary confinement; their answers have been displayed in this room in a chaotic style. Users can explore the responses and hear from the voices within solitary.
The Voices From Inside Room Illustration – 24.05.2021 – IMI WELLS