Saturday, June 26, 2010

Stripes and bars

“Geometrically and metaphorically, there is a very strong link between the horizontal stripes of penitentiary wear and the vertical stripes that make up the prison bars. Intersecting at right angles, stripes and bars seem to form a web, a grill, even a cage, that isolates the prisoner even more from the exterior world. More than just a mark, here the stripe is an obstacle. Moreover, it is the same obstacle stripe – very often red and black – that we encounter today at grade crossings, border posts, at all places where it is necessary to stop.”

Pastoureau, Michel, 2001. The devil’s cloth: a history of stripes. Translated from French by Jody Gladding. New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, Singapore: Washington Square Press, p. 58


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