Penal Colony (2004)


spring passes
and one remembers one’s innocence
summer passes
and one remembers one’s exuberance
autumn passes
and one remembers one’s reverence
winter passes
and one remembers one’s perseverance
there is a season that never passes
and that is the season of glass

© Yoko Ono ‘81



This is Hell in Paradise
We’re all asleep or paralyzed
Why are we scared to verbalize
Our multicolor dreams

When will we come to realize
We’re all stoned or pacified
While the boogie men organize
Their multilevel schemes

Underqualified for love
Overqualified for life
Sticking our heads in slime
Thinking we’re in our prime

Mesmerized by mythology
Hypnotized by ideology
Antagonized by reality
Vandalized by insanity
Desensitized by fraternity
Sanitized by policy
Jeopardized by lunacy
Penalized by apathy
And living in the world of fantasy
Dancing on hot coal
Waiting for the last call
It’s Adam’s ball
Eve’s call

Wake up, shake up, check out, work out, speak out, reach
out, it’s time to, time to, time to, to, to, to, to………..

This is Hell in Paradise
None of us wish to recognize
But do we want them to materialize

An endangered species………………………………….

Exorcize institution
Exercise intuition
Mobilize transition
With inspiration for life

© Yoko Ono ‘85



The Snow Show explores the issues related to Art and Architectural investigation by creating works from the ephemeral materials of snow and ice. An artist was partnered with an architect and invited to develop a work together—this conversation created a bridged between the art and architectural worlds.

Conceived in 2000 by independent curator Lance Fung, The Snow Show has since constructed seventeen structures that furthered the discussion of interdisciplinary collaboration and set the tone for the current Snow Show. This year, the artists and architects have created interactive experiences inspired by the dramatic natural beauty of Sestriere and the athletic competitions of the Olympics.



The ice blocks used in the construction of Penal Colony (2004) are cut from the surface of a frozen lake. The lake ice freezes in two layers: the lower layer, suitable for construction, is bright and consistent while the top layer, after enduring the elements during the freezing, has an opaque and clouded appearance and can be cut away during the harvesting process. Harvested ice is either turquoise or bluish depending on the minerals contained in the water. Weather determines the amount of time the water has to freeze, which in turn, defines the thickness of the layer used for ice construction.

The blocks are cut out of the lake surface using a chainsaw (with no grease on it) and were lifted onto trucks by standard logging cranes to be transported to the site. As moving a block can affect its structural integrity, the volume of a single ice block was kept to less than 1 cubic metre; an average block measured 1 metre in length by 0.6 metres in height by 0.6 metres in width.

In Yoko Ono and Arata Isozaki’s construction, the blocks were positioned and joined to each other following a similar method to standard masonry. Adjoining surfaces were finished to fit tightly together using table saws, chainsaws and hand chisels. When the temperature fell to -20°C or below the ice became almost too brittle to work with; at these temperatures a wrong move with a tool or an incorrect placement would have severely damaged the block or surrounding blocks. Once a block had been set in place, water was poured into the gaps fusing the ice together. Ice constructions were finished using a setaline torch to slightly graze the façade of the construction, smoothing out rough edges and burning away and surface frost or debris to leave a sparkling, translucent quality.

From The Snow Show