"Hiding" is a multimedia installation commissioned by Burlington City Arts in 2017 in conjunction with the Hall Art Foundation as part of the exhibition "Ready. Fire! Aim." Growing up Jewish, I spent a great deal of time contemplating the act of hiding to avoid persecution, both those who were forced into hiding and those who were brave enough to risk hiding them. In the current political climate, this act has once again become first a possibility and then a reality, as immigration raids and religious persecution have become even more prevalent. "Hiding" currently consists of five pieces: a concealed hiding room, a photograph and schematic drawings of a house from the underground railroad, a typed list of house rules excerpted from The Diary of Anne Frank, a video projection of a flashing red traffic light against the silhouette of a tree, and a library of survivalist literature.
A central piece of the exhibition is a hidden room constructed on the far side of the gallery, which can be entered by pushing a panel on the wall. Visitors to the exhibition are handed a map of the space upon entering the gallery to lead them to the hidden door (Risograph prints, detail above). The hidden room, shaped like a narrow corridor, contains shelves stocked with food and water, a desk with cooking supplies, a radio, a clock, a notepad, a child’s bed, and an adult-sized sleeping bag on the floor.
In 1987 a secret chamber was discovered in a house in Brattleboro, Vermont, dating back to the Underground Railroad. A group of local historians led by Walt Harrington documented its dimensions and contents. The piece consists of my photograph of the house and ten of Harrington's drawings reproduced with permission from the Brattleboro Historical Society.
This piece is a typed excerpt from Anne Frank's diary. Her November 17, 1942 entry, which consists of a tongue-in-cheek list of rules and regulations for the secret annex written by the residents of the secret annex on the occasion of the arrival of a new resident, Mr. Dussel.
This piece is a three and a half minute video, continuously looped, projected on a wall. In the Burlington installation, it was projected on the wall concealing the hiding room. The video depicts a tree at night, illuminated by a flashing red traffic light. The darkness and the red flashes are meant to evoke a sense of alarm and danger, as well as reference a police action.
This piece is a collection of 70 books derived from the recommended reading lists found on several survivalist websites, presented on a bookshelf. Some of the titles include: "How To Survive Without A Salary," "Starting A New Life In Rural America," "Walden," "The Prepper's Blueprint: The Step by Step Guide To Help You Prepare for Any Disaster," "How to Live on Wheat," "Joy of Cooking," "Tom Brown's Guide To Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants," "The Boy Scout Handbook," "US ARMY: Emergency War Surgery," "Ayn Rand: Atlas Shrugged," "When Technology Fails," and "Prepper Pete Prepares: An Introduction To Prepping For Kids."