The prison population of the United States is enormous with over two million individuals currently incarcerated nationwide. Nearly 80,000 of those are held in solitary confinement. They have no human contact and every element of their environment is controlled. Meals come through a slot in the solid steel door, as does all communication with prison staff. They might be allowed to shower once a week. They might not see the outdoors for months or years on end. They spend 22-24 hours a day in their cell with little to no human contact for days or even decades. The sensory deprivation they endure causes severe psychological damage. These people are invisible to us—and eventually to themselves. The UN has condemned solitary confinement. But it continues. (This is a virtual reality project featured as an installation for the first time. It is also a 2016 TFI New Media Fund grantee.)
With support from Google News Lab, TFI New Media Fund and the Ford Foundation, Chicken & Egg Pictures, PBS Frontline.
Francesca Panetta is a multi-award winning sound artist and journalist. She works for the Guardian as a Special Projects Editor leading on projects which innovate in storytelling. Lindsay Poulton is a multi-award winning documentary filmmaker and journalist who is passionate about innovation in digital storytelling and new platforms. She has produced a wide range of documentaries and multimedia interactives on subjects ranging from climate change to the First World War, military operations in Afghanistan and investigations into the global garment industry in Bangladesh.Read our interview with Panetta here.