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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Prison Chess #11 - Thoughts about a series




So here is what I would like to do with the prison pictures. I would like to put them together to a series, each image accompanied by some text - text written by the inmate who is shown in the picture.
I find it interesting to read answers by different people to identical questions, so this would be one way to approach this. On the other hand, this might not give a person much space to express himself - it probably depends on how the questions are defined. Ideally, the viewer should face the inmate who is a perfect stranger and totally out of the viewers world over a somewhat intellectual topic.

To make this happen, I would have to try if I can get some kind of forms to the inmates, make them fill them out and get the filled-out forms back. I don't know if this is technically possible (it should be). If the inmates are willing to cooperate? Well that's also a question. However, before I try that, I need to come up with the right questions. Here are my first ideas. I don't want to waste this opportunity (if there is any), so your input and ideas are very welcome. Especially as comments, so we could discuss it here.


They might be a bit too straight forward, but everything is optional anyway.

Your Name and/or inmate number:__________

Your age:__________

Sentence:__________
(is that what it's called? I want to know why and for how long the person has to stay in prison)

Inmate since:__________

What was your occupation outside prison?__________

For how long have you been playing?__________

Your rating and/or chess achievements:__________
(I know there was at least one grandmaster among the people I photographed)

Do your have a certain strategy in chess?__________

Do you have any thoughts about life in prison and chess that you would like to share?__________

Your message to the viewer of your picture:__________


4 comments:

carlos said...

i think that the reason, why the inmate has to stay in prison is a very personal thing. asking this this could distract some inmates to participate.

i would like to ask the inmates how chess influences the way they overcome the time in prison.

Oliver said...

Yeah, that's a good point. I probably wouldn't come up with that question, if I wouldn't remember how open many inmates were about it.
Maybe I should stress that they don't need to bother with that question if they don't want to.

Terry Lyons said...

Oliver, how will you gain access to the prisoners as well as getting forms into their hands?

By the way, I'm a big fan.

Oliver said...

Hello Terry, nice to hear from you.
I thought I could get this done through the same people who organized the chess event. I didn't contact them yet - there are still images I want to process first. If this doesn't work, I think I will put everything in an envelop and address it to the chess club of the prison.
However, I believe that the main organizer will help me. He was just great.

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