Safe House

Safe House was created in response to a call for collaborators for Ourchitecture by Elizabeth Keithline. The original call in Sculpture magazine read:

Sculptor Elizabeth Keithline seeks collaborators for Ourchitecture, a model neighborhood being assembled for fall of 2005 at the Newport Art Museum. Interested parties will be mailed a 6-in. wooden house to be adorned (exterior only) and returned to the artist... Submissions will be juried by Sara Agniel of Gallery Agniel, Providence, RI. 

Sculpture magazine, call for entries

The Safe House concept was inspired by the FEMA Are You Ready publication which recommends duct tape and plastic sheets for shelter-in-place situations in the event of chemical or biological attacks. After thinking about it for a while, plastic and duct tape gave way to a whole-house solution that included air filtration and a decontamination area.

I tried to make the underlying structure of Safe House look like a traditional single-family home. I covered it with a simulated “Bio Guard” wrap modeled after the Kevlar wrap that is commonly used in new construction. There is a HEPA filter mounted on the roof and a decontamination area on the front porch. The structure is purposely devoid of color, except for the yellow smiley face on the “Have a Nice Day” sign on the front door. The people who live there think they are safe - and maybe they are - but they now live in a colorless refuge. Is the current citizen preparedness any different than the "duck and cover" civil defense that I grew up with?

Ourchitecture was shown at the Newport Art Museum in Newport, RI from November 2005 to January 2006. From there, it went on display at the Rhode Island Housing Authority.

The opening at the Newport Art Museum.

A view down one of the streets.

Where the Heart Is, Marjorie Ball.

Part of the neighborhood.

Untitled, Charlee Swanson.

Neighbors, Bethany Schlegal.

All work copyright © Ray Martin and respective artists and authors.