Unfortunately as a Cat B prison we view security very highly and as such we would not be able to allow any photographs to be taken of any of the external fences or walls of the prison.


We wish you well in your endeavours.




HMP Nottingham


Barbed wire, despite its apparently fragile nature, has the capacity to both materialise and define micro-boundaries all around urban and rural landscapes. Its disturbing but surprisingly simple features impose–while minimising the aesthetic impact–deep differences between private and public space, inside and outside, us and the others. Its use is also connected with social issues such as the imposed practices of inclusion-exclusion or the illusion of security in modern societies. Exposing the presence of barbed wire in our daily life means, in fact, problematising our fears and the psychological mechanisms we use to feed them. By denaturalising them, one can create a breach through which questions about the connection between landscape and power relations emerge. Some of these questions, for instance, refer to the ways in which a simple wire can simultaneously be used to, eventually, confine inmates in a concentration camp, create a piece of no-man’s land, enclose an agricultural plot, or protect our backyard garden. Being such a controversial artefact, it is not unusual to be questioned by police officers or security guards when one is seen taking pictures of barbed wire in public spaces; not to mention that approaching and photographing the external fences of ‘sensitive’ sites, such as prisons or military installations, is sometimes not even allowed (as we have confirmed by ourselves).