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Noun - sur·viv·al·ist - \-və-list\
: A person who believes that government and society will soon fail completely and who stores food, weapons, etc., in order to be prepared to survive when that happens
This project grew out of curiosity. I was curious to understand how a growing fringe of the population thinks, and what triggered them to think this way. The End will come, and every day is one day closer to it. But being a survivalist, or prepper, involves much more than the simple fear of dying. It is about proving yourself to be powerful enough to survive an event that might wipe out some if not all of the population. This focus on surviving unlikely events can make peppers forget to protect primal things like their own health. These people have a pathological distrust of institutions, and a lot of them drop their health insurance to spend all of their money on survival gear. They like to exaggerate within their preparation and think about scenarios most of us cannot even fathom. This leads to them amassing enormous amounts of gear. They love objects.
I tried meeting survivalists, but to them a camera is way scarier than a gun. Now I had to become one and imagine scenarios while pushing this idea of exaggeration to the absurd. Using sculptures, as well as images, was also a way to conform to the prepper mentality. Collecting gear is a big part of a survivalist’s life, and it had to be the same for this project.
Overall, I find it hard to relate to preppers, but my curiosity reemerges when I try to chart these people’s complex sense of optimism and pessimism. They are optimistic because they really believe they can survive anything but also pessimistic because they spend a majority of their time getting ready for the end of the world. It made me think about where I would want to be in a situation like that. Would I want to survive? Would I want to be alive if everyone and everything I know is not? All I know is that as of now, no prepper has ever had to use his survival gear.
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Tiné, Oscar Aladin, "Bug-In Bug-Out" (2015). Senior Projects Spring 2015. 353.
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