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 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 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 façade starts to fade.
Joel Jimenez (1993) is a visual artist who lives and works between Costa Rica and Spain. He is currently studying cinematography in Barcelona and is part of an international curatorial program at an art studies center in Berlin.
His projects are mainly focused on the intersections between landscape, memory, and identity development processes related to affective stimuli.
Joel was selected as one of LensCulture’s Emerging Talents in 2018 and nominated for the prestigious Prix Levallois in 2019. His most recent project titled Castle of Innocence will be featured in the next edition of PhotoEspaña after being selected for the Discoveries section.
His work has been exhibited in over ten countries and his projects have been reviewed and featured by internationally recognized platforms such as GUP, PHmuseum, LensCulture, Revista Balam, L’oeil de la Photographie, C41 Magazine y Aint Bad.