HazMat Suits for Children

Marina Zurkow (US)

Dupont’s patented Tychem® hazardous materials clean-up suits are used in petroleum industry disaster response to mitigate ecological disasters. These suits have been re-scaled to outfit them for children. The suits are sealed to prevent humans from entering them, thus assuring that no children are harmed in the process.

HazMat Suits for Children is one part of the Necocracy series, based on research in the Permian Basin, which includes video animation, drawing and sculpture—a meditation on geology, time, nature and petrochemical production. Questioning the inherited, Romantic-era division between the natural and the human, the works navigate between human manufacturing of petroleumbased products, ecology, and the geological chronology of oil.

In the Permian Period, 250 million years ago, the geological riches of the area were formed, as marine microorganisms accumulated in sediments on the floor of a vast saline sea. Over millions of years, the seas dried out, the landmass itself moved to its present location, and the marine creatures transmuted into hydrocarbons. In the past century, we have pumped over 100 billion barrels of oil and a hundred trillion cubic feet of gas from the Texas hydrocarbon reservoirs. The exhibit asks us to think about how we disturb, worship and are dominated by these long-dead beings: necrocracy, or the rule of the dead.

About the artist: 

Marina Zurkow is a media artist focused on near-impossible nature and culture intersections, such as invasive species and petrochemical interdependencies.