The Tower

Beth Thielen & Unnamed Artists
 

Beth Thielen & Unnamed Artists
The Tower
Canapetta bookcloth over binder’s board with text and linoleum prints in a tower structure
36 x 23 x 23 cm
San Quentin State Prison; the California Rehabilitation Center: Norco, California
2006/2007
FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives

The Tower
00:00 / 01:10

Read Me!

Beth Thielen’s The Tower is a structure of books formed into the shape of a prison guard tower. There are four books in the middle that form the sides. When the books are lowered, various images can be seen, including the cover of each book. A square roof sits on top. It can be removed to reveal two booklets hidden inside.

 

The Tower sheds light on issues of social justice through stories by those imprisoned. Through readers’ interactions with The Tower, they must confront images and writings that reflect the various artists’ experiences as imprisoned persons. The two concealed booklets record the names of those who contributed, the materials used, the background information, and the artists’ reasons for creating the project. Thielen states that the value of the materials reflects the value she places in her students, and upon looking at the materials readers should be able to see how precious all of the contributors are. Thielen believes in the power of art to enlighten people, and she encourages the audience to see this for themselves and feel inspired to join her in changing our society’s perceptions of imprisonment, the imprisoned, and our common humanity.