Adaptations (for a Post-Nuclear Society), 2004

Exhibited at: Baskin Senior Gallery, Elena Baskin Visual Art Department, University of California, Santa Cruz.
Dimensions: 20 ft. x 16 ft. x 20 ft.
Mixed Media: Salt floor, fabricated emergency tent, buddy system suit, 2 coolant beds, 3 coolant stool packs, 2 pairs of stilt shoes, 6 emergency balancing devices, panting masks, instructional pamphlets.

With "Adaptations," I created an installation that imagined solutions to living in a post-nuclear society. I began to think of the people of the city fleeing after their water supply had been contaminated, their city in ruin, and needing to turn to nomad travel across the desert. I imagined red-cross like emergency tents set up in the desert, filled with adaptation devices, which I created all based on how desert animals currently and historically have adapted to the extreme conditions of the desert. The installation provided instructional pamphlets that guided the visitors through the proper ways to use each of the desert adaptation devices, issued by the "Office of Nuclear Correction."

The desert adaptation devices included balancing devices, for use in desert travel, based on animals' body acrobatics, which is the manuevering of limbs to decrease surface area of skin that touches hot soil, therefore when used, they would stabilize the body temperature. These came in portable versions or stilt shoe versions, which keep the feet off of desert soil while traveling. Panting masks were provided, which were intended to reduce the amount of breath moisture lost, and retain water that comes out of exhaled breath, while letting out the used air. The Buddy system Suit was available for defense against getting lost, as travel through the desert with one or more persons is imperative to survival. The Buddy Suit was completely adjustable. Portable cooling beds and portable coolant stool packs were avaiblable, which are based on animals laying on rocks that have cooled in the night, made of slate, which naturally retains cold. Each device could be fully disassembled and carried in parts.

The floor of the gallery was covered in rock salt, which is simultaneously one of the elements in the soil that is projected to deteriorate the storage tanks, and is also what is used to soak up large nuclear spills. Press and advertisements for the show were all in the form of "Manditory Post-Nuclear Training Sessions" fliers, which instructed people to come to the location in order to receive training for the recent nuclear disaster.