CLOG is a quarterly journal of architecture. Each issue looks at a specific theme from multiple points of view and through various means. This means introductory glossaries as well as critical essays, short and long form work, and as much attention paid to visuals as to text. The idea is to provide a well-rounded but precise and contained take on a given topic. Past topics have included Miami, Apple, Sci-fi, and Brutalism. The latest is on Rem Koolhaas. The one just before that is Prisons.
Some facts you’ll read in the Prisons issue of CLOG: More than ten million people around the world are currently held in some form of penal institution. The United States has the highest incarceration rates in the world (716 per 100,000 of the national population)—a count that’s roughly equivalent to that of the city of Philadelphia. In Western Australia, aboriginal people represent only about three percent of the population, yet they comprise close to 40 percent of the adult prison population.
What’s more—you’ll read first-hand testimonials from former American inmates, an interview with artist Ai Weiwei on his detainment in China and one with the creator of HBO’s OZ, a visual essay on the prison break narrative in film, and several one-page essays on topics like the private prison economy and prisons-turned-museums.
I read CLOG’s Prisons while watching the second season of Jenji Kohan’s Orange is the New Black, as a kind of critical reader to the show, a reality check. Both OITNB and CLOG work to reveal the affective and power relations, the psychological complexity, of space and circumstance. Anywhere we are changes how we are. Deliberately erected off-center, out of sight, prisons aren’t something many of us think about. CLOG is designed so more of us pay attention.