Morning of the exhibition – its pouring down with rain, cold and we are not sure what is happening, our contact arrives late with the key and we have to carry the work from the studios to the prison, some people with paper work arrange a lift, but we can’t all fit in it. At this point I am very thankful I made the decision I did, not to glue it all into a solid form, as the piece can be folded up gently and pushed into a large bin bag for transportation. We split bags between us all and move the work into the prison.

When I arrive I am damp and hot, and really enjoying the opportunity to work in the space, everyone splits off and chooses a space they like to work in, which works well as we are distributed across the floors. I already cased the joint for the darkest spot to put my work, and found an area of corridor outside the chapel and near the entrance to the cells, where there were no windows and without electricity it was pitch black. I started by setting up a small table with my cameras, tape, scissors and equipment, hung my coat in an anterior room and with my phone torch on the table started to un-tape the work in the dark and dusty hall way. After about 15 mins I started to feel really cold and realised three tapes on 40 strands takes a long time to peel off, one of my team came by and suggested I moved the piece into the anterior room for light just while I untapped it, which I did, put on some music and got to work.

The time went really quickly I had it in place, wasn’t sure if I was happy it looked as human as it had on the table but before I knew it it was almost time to break, so I had to hurriedly put the polaroid’s up in the hallway, along with the cover from the Polaroid film with the title ‘Behind Closed Doors’ which I had discovered while in the accommodation and suggested to everyone to use as the name for the show, after some consternation we did go with it as a name but it was fairly low key.  We stopped for a quick lunch (and to warm up) and back in to welcome the viewers for the private view at 2.00pm, at that point we had no idea who (if any) was coming, we needn’t have worried.

Everyone who we had worked with in the week came by to see our work, along with the headmaster of the school. The head gave a speech along without team leader Laura, and then they came to look around, I spoke to the head through a translator about my piece, how it was inspired by the work of Anthony Gormley, how it represented a trace of the people who had been here before, and how I had chosen the site in the hallway a transitional space, rather than a cell… he commented that it was ‘a very good choice of location,’ (if you can imagine a pitch black hallway, with about 2mm covering of dust on the floors, with light at the end of the corridors at either side with prison doors and gates you’re on your way there.) Some of my group commented that it was a positive work in the sense that it was a light in the darkness, and had a feeling of hope.

During the PV I had volunteered to take photos for the record of the trip, as one of the only ones with a working DSLR it made sense, so I ran about and documented everyone’s work as quickly and thoroughly as I could, however the person with the key wanted to lock up, Laura said was I ready to go there and then and I said no I had to document the work and this was the only time I could do it,  and to give me 15  minutes to record the work, so that was all I had to record and take down. Before I knew it it was all done, over.


As a bit of a treat to end the week we were taken by coach to visit a glass making factory. It was very cold and grey for the whole trip, but we got to see some of the Czech countryside on the trip so it was quite enjoyable after working between our accommodations the school/prison and the studios all week. Our guide was a retired glass blower and he took us on a tour of all the processes, which was very interesting, wooden glass moulds, powdered glass, the glass blowing area with men in shorts wearing only traditional leather slippers and socks on their feet, the cooling machine that takes the glass from hundreds of centigrade to a temperature where it won’t break at room temperature.

Then the ready-made glass that comes in from Russia to be processed, waxed and etched by rows of machines with points cutting patterns in the wax, brushed with squirrel tails, the acid baths and the packing areas. Pushing glasses into our bags and pockets as we worked our way through the last rooms we were herded through the shop and then back onto the coach to return and pack our stuff from the studios.

We had arranged a team dinner that evening to celebrate the exhibition in a local restaurant recommended by Zdena our guide, so we all went out and chatted about what we had done that week, the Czech guides said they were surprised by how much work we had produced in just that week, and the quality of the work.