Castle Of Innocence

by Joel Jimenez

Castle of Innocence is a tale that questions the narratives and myths that shape our perception of protection, violence, and truth in the collective consciousness.
Set in the Children’s Museum (Museo de los Niños) of Costa Rica, the project uses found images and original material shot in the museum, intertwining multiple layers of the building’s history to reflect on the strategies used by power structures to construct and control social identity.
The complex that houses the museum first served as a maximum-security prison, however, due to failed administrations and a lack of criminal reforms; the prison struggled with issues such as riots, fires, corruption, and overcapacity. Throughout the 20th century, the prison became a lawless, inhospitable environment, until it finally closed in 1979.
Fourteen years later, the building reopened as a children’s museum: a place designed like a playground, an oasis of joy and freedom.
Today, the museum lives in a state of nostalgia; imaginative objects are used as educational devices, reproductions depicting prison cells and old memorabilia reframes the building’s dark past, constructing a designed version of the truth and tailoring our relationship with power.
By confronting the validity of these intricate notions, the museum’s colorful environments and historic replicas start to reveal their deceitful quality and contradictions; the facade starts to fade.
In this context, the landscape of the museum resembles a two-way mirror; it acts as a metaphor for our complicated relationship with images and technology while providing an opportunity to think about how visual information and appearances mediate our understanding between right and wrong.