*East of 72nd: Disrupting the Omaha Landscape in Six Acts
Act I: Toxic Cleanup*
(14th & Douglas Streets in Gene Leahy Mall)
Duration: 90 Minutes
Description: On the northwest corner of Gene Leahy Mall (14th & Douglas Streets) there is a square patch of grass slightly raised from the sidewalk. There are many trees on the site as well as a pair of benches. Following a heavy snow, three site control individuals dressed in plastic orange rain suits will place 50 relatively small red sticks, each tied with a ribbon, throughout the space, preferably in the early morning hours (8:00am). Each ribbon will have a ‘fear’ printed on it (i.e. ‘Death’, ‘Disease’, ‘Aging’, ‘Darkness’, etc. Yellow caution tape with the bemisUNDERGROUND logo and the words ‘CAUTION – ART’ will section off the littered area. The three site controllers will distribute bemisUNDERGROUND postcards to those that pass by and sweep snow as well. A strong halogen lamp will illuminate the space from the front (NW corner) to the back (SE corner). A van will drive up and two individuals in white decontamination suits will emerge from the van. Each will have a clear plastic bag. They will move into the space and collect all 50 of the sticks with grabbing devices. Once this is completed, they will leave the space. One of the two will get back into the van. The other will remove his decontamination suit and clothing down to his shorts. There is a red mark on the left side of his torso and leg. He will have buckets of water poured over him. He will go through a decontamination process. He will be wrapped in a blanket. He will then step into the van. The van will depart and the yellow caution tape and light will be removed from around the trees by the site controllers. They will then leave the site and depart in their own vehicle.
Through the artificiality of a simulated biohazard cleanup, themes related to our 21st century fears of the unknown, terrorism, and human fragility are explored.