185 photographs of everyday objects secretly made by inmates in their cells.
Tools of Disobedience presents 185 photographs shot in 2014 at prisons in Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. They show items which the inmates made secretly in their cells using the crudest of tools and materials—and which were subsequently confiscated. They are, for the most part, functional replicas of objects we use in our day-to-day lives outside the prison walls. They testify to the extraordinary skill and inventiveness required to make anything at all in these special, adverse conditions of privation and manifold constraints, with narrow confines, cheap materials, a lack of tools, constant surveillance and the need to conceal these creations. The available materials are altered, combined and repurposed, thereby losing their original function to become something new, endowed with new properties. The objects often look simpler and more essential than their “normal” counterparts; while they are often quite different, they are always functional. All the objects were photographed on location and in the style of archival material. Under the neutral artificial lighting, they look like industrial products photographed for advertising purposes. In their hybrid nature, these objects form a sort of page-by-page visual lexicon of peculiar and yet familiar, profound and highly subjective forms. With the text “Of Things and Men” by Didier Fassin.
Mélanie Veuillet (born 1989 in Sierre, Switzerland) studied at the Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD) and Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. Her artistic work is about documenting human forms of organization, examining the conceptions that go hand in hand with alienation, control and surveillance. Her work has been featured in various exhibitions, including “Sturm der Liebe” (Etablissement d'en Face, Brussels, 2016), “Some Gallerists” (The Duck, Berlin, 2015) and the Swiss Design Awards (Basel, 2015). Since 2013 she has been co-curator of Marbriers 4, an art space in Geneva.