Competition entry
with Jason Butz and Jaymon Diaz
Project location: Ellen-Elly Oil Rig, Pacific Ocean

“...The solitude, the dark depths of the ocean weigh heavy; a burden of an insurmountable endlessness. Surrounded by water, 9 miles away from the San Pedro shore in the Pacific, I look out onto a wavering horizon. Sometimes the ocean feels stifling, and at others, liberating.

The infinite vastness of the lateral expanse of the ocean is pierced by the reach of zenith to nadir. Within this tenuous space, solitude seeks kinship. The cells in the prison aggregate around a common source of zenithal light that allows various forms of reflection. The prison resolves the discord between the confinement that we prisoners face, and the exposure to the ocean that oil rigs afford.

My days are busy with training and chores, and I've found support in my road to penitence. We inmates are being trained in coral farming, crate assembly for coral reefs, and agriculture. We also grow our own vegetables that we sell back to the city, and cook, eat, and exercise together. It is during these group sessions, overlooking the ocean, that I hear many a story that I hope to tell when I write an account of my life here. But it is in my private cell, that I reflect on what went wrong, how things fell, and begin to heal. 

There is dignity where I am incarcerated as I await trial. Entrapped in layers of my penitence and that of others, I have the sounds of the ocean and the reflections of the water to melt time away...”

Prisoner #061957
awaiting trial for involuntary manslaughter