Are We Safe Yet?
After the end of the cold war, we blatantly assumed we would be enjoying prosperity, peace and freedom. But we have been brutally introduced to new realities: fear and uncertainty. Terror, terrorists and terrorism. Terrorism in our home ground. And despite a daily barrage of sordid headlines and images, our cultural beliefs and attitudes remain mostly uncharged. This contradiction is the seed of this work. I chose a North American cultural icon, the Barbie doll, to represent our lives of privilege, innocence with perhaps a touch of flippancy. Barbie, ever perky, never loses the bloom of youth and beauty and, to me, symbolizes our society’s expectations. Now that ugly realities encroach upon us here at home, she is forced to find protection using weaponry –yet another of our cultural icons.
Do we continue to live in a fantasy world? Is Tom Ridge’s notion of using plastic sheets and duct tape to protect us a delusion? Isn’t this recommendation frivolous? *
Are we isolating ourselves from the rest of the world? Are we creating further alienation and distrust? Do we care?
*Tom Ridge, Homeland Security Secretary, February 29, 2003, launched the ‘Ready Campaign’ -a citizen preparedness effort aimed at showing Americans what they could do to protect themselves in case of a terror attach.