Landscapes of Quarantine

March 10 – April 24, 2010

Opening Reception: Tuesday March 9, 7pm

Landscapes of Quarantine was an exhibition exploring the spaces of quarantine, from Level 4 biocontainment labs to underground nuclear waste repositories.

Curated by: Future Plural
Geoff Manaugh, BLDGBLOG
Nicola Twilley, Edible Geography

Designed by:
Glen Cummings, MTWTF

Landscapes of Quarantine featured works by a multi-disciplinary group of eighteen artists, designers, and architects, each of whom was inspired by one or more of the physical, biological, ethical, architectural, social, political, temporal, and even astronomical dimensions of quarantine.

At its most basic, quarantine is a strategy of separation and containment—the creation of a hygienic boundary between two or more things, for the purpose of protecting one from exposure to the other. It is a spatial response to suspicion, threat, and uncertainty. From Chernobyl’s Zone of Exclusion and the artificial quarantine islands of the New York archipelago to camp beds set up to house HIV-positive Haitian refugees detained at Guantánamo and the modified Airstream trailer from within which Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins once waved at President Nixon, the landscapes of quarantine are various, mutable, and often unexpected.

Typically, quarantine is thought of in the context of disease control. It is used to isolate people who have been exposed to a contagious virus or bacteria and, as a result, may (or may not) be carrying the infection themselves. But quarantine does not apply only to people and animals. Its boundaries can be set up for as long as needed, creating spatial separation between clean and dirty, safe and dangerous, healthy and sick, foreign and native—however those labels are defined.

As a result, the practice of quarantine extends far beyond questions of epidemic control and pest-containment strategies to touch on issues of urban planning, geopolitics, international trade, ethics, immigration, and more. And although the practice dates back at least to the arrival of the Black Death in medieval Venice, if not to Christ’s 40 days in the desert, quarantine has re-emerged as an issue of urgency and importance in today’s era of globalization, antibiotic resistance, emerging diseases, pandemic flu, and bio-terrorism.

Landscapes of Quarantine began with an eight-week independent design studio directed by Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley of Future Plural. Each Tuesday evening, from October to December 2009, a multi-disciplinary group of studio participants met to discuss the spatial implications of quarantine and develop their own creative response: the resulting work forms the core of the Landscapes of Quarantine exhibition.

Works on display:

Pages 179 – 187, Joe Alterio

Q-CITY: An Investigation, Front Studio | Yen Ha & Michi Yanagishita

MAP 002 QUARANTINE, David Garcia Studio

Did We Build The Frontier To Keep It Closed?, Scott Geiger

Field Notes from Quarantine, Katie Holten

Hotel III, Camp II, Lab IV, Cell V, Mimi Lien

Cordon Sanitaire, Kevin Slavin

Context/Shift, Brian Slocum

Containing Uncertainty, Smudge Studio | Jamie Kruse & Elizabeth Ellsworth

NYCQ, Amanda Spielman & Jordan Spielman

Quick, Richard Mosse

Thermal Scanner and Body Temperature Alert System, Daniel Perlin

Precious Isolation: A Pair of Invasive Species, Thomas Pollman

The Landscapes of Quarantine exhibition opening reception was 
generously sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery.