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This project takes a speculative design approach to survivalism and asks “what alternative scenarios of survival are there that avoid the bunker mentality and respond to currently emerging research into technological change, environmental conditions and belief systems?” The project uses designed objects and storytelling to explore the survival strategies of a disparate set of six protagonists, each with a very different take on what they “need”.
“We see that the world is entering an age of ecological collapse, material contraction and social and political unraveling. We don’t believe that responses to this global reality can be confined, as they currently are, to the political, scientific or technological: they need to be cultural too.“
-The Dark Mountain Project
Since the threat of nuclear cataclysm in the mid twentieth century “survivalism” has embedded itself in the public consciousness as an attitude and a body of knowledge for those intent on planning for the worst-case scenario. Typically survivalists pursue extreme self-sufficiency, squirreling food, medical supplies and weapons, undertaking related training and identifying safe havens. The focus is on reverting to tried and tested means, and as such, it is anything but progressive.
Conventional survival kits address only the bottom of Abraham Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs (the physiological and safety needs of food, water, shelter etc.). Rather than replacing such kits, the alternatives proposed here represent the higher concerns of our protagonists; the protection of culture, the ability to make good decisions, the facility to plan and dream, the provision of access to cheap power, among other things.
As thought experiments intended to broaden debate about how we approach the concept of post-disaster scenarios in our culture, these alternative survival kits are intended as a starting point for you to engage with the question “what would be in my survival kit.” To facilitate this, we have created a flow chart for you to follow inside the publication that will be produced for the biennial.
We are very grateful to the following individuals, whose enthusiasm, commitment and skill helped make this project possible: Chris Roeleveld, Andrea Chiu, Anastasia Chatzka, Chris Buchakjian, Jeff Munie
More info updates and images soon!