In the Atrium
January 30–March 14, 2022
Aftermath is an experiment in interdisciplinary collaboration, research, and pedagogy. Spearheaded by developmental psychologist Boston College Professor Julia DeVoy and public health consultant Dielle Lundberg, the work’s various components have been sourced from an expansive network of scientific- and design-based innovations executed by Boston College professors and students in disciplines as disparate as applied psychology, art, engineering, environmental science, and education. The goal: To face up to a global economy of throwaway consumption that has given way to such unsustainable industries as “fast-fashion.”
Boston College Professor of Art Mark Cooper has constructed a modular shelving system to anchor this iteration of the project, providing an uncanny, rhizomatic wooden armature upon which garments (sourced second-hand from the BC community) have been haphazardly strewn: A counter-monument to the abject waste products of our everyday acts of consumption. In the midst of this sinister shrine stands a Bioreactor Simulator—the verticality of its PVC tube doubling that of the viewer. Designed to simulate the toxic effects of garment dyes placed within its testing chamber, the unit constellates the act of looking and the everyday acts of self-fashioning that fuel a toxic system of global overconsumption.
Animations produced by BC undergraduates (who voted on the installation’s title) provide information and further resources on this larger economy of waste. In its very form, Aftermath proposes that the spaces art inhabits—whether gallery, studio, or classroom—have already begun to be polluted by spaces outside their sanitized, contemplative environs, from landfill to boutique store to laboratory. But Aftermath points to generative possibilities too, framing the museum as an experimental laboratory for forging cross-disciplinary and decidedly collaborative dialogues to help intervene in planetary crises, from uneven health disparities to environmental racism.
Aftermath will travel to the ACCelerate Creativity + Innovation Festival, where it will be exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC. The Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society, Boston College, has funded the exhibition’s research and installation.