Marquis De Sade’s scripts are full of some kind of incarceration rooms, be it small or large in proportions. The lead roles of his writings at some point they are locked in a cell either as a victim or as the victimizer.
Some of the principles of true incarceration are revealed in Sade’s stories and at the same time exist in true prison institutions such as discipline, unceasing vigilance/surveillance, constraint, compliance and submission to all set of rules, subjugation, enforcement and many more.
The underground Museum in Paliouri Diminiou of a) physical discipline and b) body incarceration incorporates some of the principles of prison and through the vast stretch, extension, and perplexity of the site it states the meaning of a body under constraint, submission and compliance to a strict set of rules. It is an underground structure with many rooms, that sometimes communicate with each other and sometimes they lead to a complex maze like corridors, yet at the same time it gives a suffocating feeling.
The prison ( be it in a fictional script or a true institution) is a place where the prisoners have no rights and are under surveillance. Through the enforcement of rules in conjunction to the above statement, and especially inside the museum we pick up conceptual dipoles such as imprisonment – freedom, insanity – reason, victim – victimizer, overseer – under surveillance. As a consequence of the above society acquires different bipolar identities, healthy-ill, underground-above the ground, viable- non viable, normal-abnormal.
Sade’s illustrations are comprised of sexual and territorial descriptions. However both these two categories converge to a common point. These are conveyed through territorial labels and maneuvers. The body (there is no sex discrimination) acquires a territorial dimension and the space is strictly build to imprison. The space of Sade, prisons and the museum are characterized by room/ territorial surveillance, and mirroring of the human expression.
The organ like contour and the pattern of the structure are defined by the figure of the bodies. The figure of the building is made up of a female body with a male body inside it, sharing only the gastrointestinal area. Through this dual quality of the same body the space attains female and a male characteristics. As female characteristics of the space we can attribute spaciousness, snugness, warmth, and passivity while the male characteristics are incommodity, activism, energy and non hospitality.
This structure has another special characteristic – the fluid, as moisture and humidity are associated with sexuality and sexual instincts. The human body itself is made up of enormous amounts of liquids, different organs, and multiple functions tightly linked together. The optional lighting/illumination of the different rooms of the museum is giving a stronger sense of imprisonment and interiority.
There is a tight link between surveillance-discipline and enforcement a fact that is reflected on the body, so it acts accordingly. The end result of an imprisonment is a new body but its not our task to characterize this new body as better or worse. This new body has the marks of discipline carved on it, remnants of the space of its previous incarceration-creation.