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Official website for Mark C. Hewitt & Blank Productions

Body of Writing
LLL Productions
October / November 2017

Body of Writing was an installation developed for the cloisters of Salisbury Cathedral which featured the writings of prisoners from HMP Erlestoke in Wiltshire. The project was developed by LLL Productions in partnership with Salisbury Cathedral's Learning & Outreach Team as part of a season of events exploring Memory and Identity. The words of the prisoners came out of a programme of creative writing workshops linked to LLL's Penned Up festival. Led by reader development consultant David Kendall and Mark C. Hewitt, the aim was to focus on creating short, punchy texts that could sit alongside images of prisoners' tattoos by Lewes photographer Willie Robb. The two panelled towers created for the installation were designed and constructed by exhibition company, Standard 8.

The work was officially launched on World Mental Health Day, Tuesday 10th October, at a special event with an introductory speech by Erwin James, writer, journalist and editor of Inside Time, who himself spent 20 years in prison.

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The following are some of the texts by prisoners used in the installation:

"A pot of flowers in the window. It's better than looking at a 25ft tall steel grey fence topped with razor wire that stretches years ahead."

"If the house was silent then someone was in for a beating."

"Ink. Tall. Welsh. Helpful. Religious. Angry."

"Whether on forearm or back, or even on face
For ego, tradition, or the mark of your race ..."

"When the judge gave me 20 years I was still young. I’d have preferred the death sentence."

"In the forgotten cell I will leave behind the noise of prison … the cacophony of despair … the idiocy of juvenile posturing …"

"The trembling on waking before I don the mask of bravado you need to present to the others here."

"Tall ashtray. Photos. Old 50s stereo. Pictures of dogs playing poker. Stained yellow net curtains."

"I remember having my lips round a shower drain trying to suck out the drugs I’d stashed while my mates laughed in the exercise yard."