SEG

for


Solo Trombone (+ Rubber Mallet & Piezo Microphone)

5 Mechanical Metronomes

Live Electronics


by Sang Song


2020


“Seg”—a shorthand for “segregation”—is prison slang referring to solitary confinement.


Psychologist Craig Haney describes solitary confinement as follows:


“[S]egregation from the mainstream prisoner population in attached housing units or free-standing facilities

where prisoners are involuntarily confined in their cells for upwards of 23 hours a day or more, given only

extremely limited or no opportunities for direct and normal social contact with other persons (i.e., contact that is

not mediated by bars, restraints, security glass or screens, and the like), and afforded extremely limited if any

access to meaningful programming of any kind.”


While it is considered torture by experts, solitary confinement is frequently used in U.S. prisons as a means to punish and discipline inmates. If subject to this punishment, an inmate is placed in an 8ft.x10ft. cell—equipped with a bed, sink, toilet and virtually nothing else—for months, years and sometimes decades. The absence of meaningful social contact and interaction with others is known to cause adverse psychological effects, including mental illnesses ranging from anxiety, clinical depression, and self-mutilation to suicidal thoughts.


Seg is more a reflection on human condition than a call for prison reform, however. It would be not too far off to assume that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, pretty much every individual on earth experienced isolation in one form or another. It would be preposterous to compare quarantine- or lockdown-experiences to the inhumane treatment the prisoners in seg are subject to, of course. But, to the extent we as a collective have probably never been this aware of what isolation means to the human psyche, Seg may be viewed as an invitation to reflect upon the fragility of our existence.