“THIS IS NOT A TEST”

“THIS IS NOT A TEST,” audience-participatory, audio installation, mixed media, variable dimensions depending on the context, 1978-91.


“THIS IS NOT A TEST” is an audio installation that investigates a nuclear nightmare. The audience is presented with a surrealistic vision of the last survivor's shack, as if they are visiting a museum on another planet where they are learning the history of human extinction. In the center of the installation is a desolate bed/landscape and miniature projections of lush, blue-green landscapes (memories of what was once on the surface of the planet). The projected landscapes alternate in the carousel tray with slides that project a bright, white light, like the flash of the bomb. On the audio loop, the visitor hears two voices (one cynical, the other despairing) discuss what wasn't done to avoid nuclear war - they are interrupted by a radio announcer and a teacher giving emergency instructions. Chanting moans, sirens, and sighs echo in the background. The audience is invited to share their own nightmare or dream for the future and they are read aloud at a despair and empowerment workshop. The latter was inspired by the work of Joanna Macy.

Exhibitions: Nova Scotia College of Art and Design gallery (1978); the New York Coliseum's Art Expo '81 (Women in Art '71-'81 curated by the NY Feminist Art Institute) (1980); The New Museum of Contemporary Art, NYC (The End of the World: Contemporary Visions of the Apocalypse curated by Lynn Gumpert) (1983-84); Carleton College Gallery, Minnesota (1985); the YWCA of Minneapolis (1985); Long Beach Museum of Art, CA (1987); Calif. State Univ., Bakersfield (1988); CSU Northridge Gallery (1989); and the Walker Building, Long Beach (1991).Discussed in books and articles by Suzi Gablik, Michael Brenson and Paul Von Blum.