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Maceration is a unrealized project proposal submitted to Eastern State Penitentiary's Public Art program by Jennifer Dalton Vincent and Polina Volfovich.


Maceration is a kinetic, site-specific, "living" artwork that dramatizes the psychological effect solitary confinement has on prisoners.


In form, Maceration shows a life-size, stone statue of an nondescript adult sitting submissively at the corner of a bed. Shoulders slightly slumped, hands resting on thighs, the figure gently leans its mouth against an automated machine outfitted with a single toothbrush. The toothbrush is the sole contact point at which the machine touches the figure’s body. The machine acts continuously throughout the day, brushing at and brushing away the mouth of the figure. The bristles of the brush slowly sweep away granules of stone and carve into the head of the statue. In time, the machine slices through the figure, separating its head from its body.

Maceration is a visceral, visual metaphor that represents the steady erosion of an isolated inmate’s physical and psychological well-being.


Project Proposal for Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA

Illustration by Polina Volfovich

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