A PRISON VIEW OF BANYAN AND NEON


2018, A Prison View of Banyan and Neon, 3D animated video, 17:00
Zheng Mahler’s work is a virtual tour of the Central Police Station complex in Hong Kong, which sits at the convergence between two axes, a horizontal spatial movement through the physical space of the architecture and a vertical temporal collapse of various strata of the social and cultural history embedded in the site. It takes from the idea of the Central Magistracy building as an ‘all-in-one’ that links between the police and prison functions as the basis of a re-mapping of the various buildings as a body, a trembling nervous system of colonial fear about native criminality in parallel to the digestive system that ingests the colonial subject into its mouth (The Superintendants House, 10) where it passes through the judiciary (Central Magistracy Building, 09) that disciplines the mind, to the prison which disciplines the body (B, D, E Halls, 12, 14, 15). Finally, one is expelled into damnation from the trap door of the gallows or into salvation through the chapel (or both 11). Digitally reconstructed through 3D graphics and virtual reality mapping, the complex becomes a bio-architectural body, with reference to both Foucault and Feng Shui, which swallows the viewer whole.

Music by Lars Åkerlund and Kasper T. Toeplitz.