New Britain, CT
Maya Jeffereis is a New York-based artist working in video, performance, and installation.
Her exhibition Fallout Shelter is a video installation and participatory project that engages participants in a conversation about identity politics. It stages a US Navy “moral values” training exercise, found by the artist at an abandoned naval station in Puerto Rico. The exercise outlines a post-apocalyptic survival scenario. Participants must choose which six out of ten fallout shelter occupants are to remain, based on limited information about age, race, gender, sexuality, occupation, and ideology. Participants are playfully confronted with their own values as they engage in a thought experiment about ethics, identification, and representation, as they decide who will survive to rebuild society.
This examination raises some critical questions about power and authority. The seriousness of these questions is quite relevant given the particularly divisive political landscape that we all witness day in and day out. With this video installation, Jeffereis puts forth content for the viewer to consider what their own positions might be—a thoughtful position for the viewer to contemplate. Additionally, we might ask ourselves to consider the meaning of legitimate government, the impact of those with positions of power, and those without, and how the privilege of power is ultimately woven into positions with influence and authority.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.