Occasionally Blastproof is exhibited – aside from showcasing the research and development, the overall aim is to encourage people to consider, question and debate the key issues concerning landmines and other explosive remnants of war.
For people who live in countries untouched by war, the threat of these devices and the problems they pose may seem intangible and difficult to contemplate. The installation aims to project visitors into the context of a conflict affected scenario involving the unexploded remnants of war, from the perspectives of both civilian and mine removal teams through a hands-on interactive environment. Whilst landmine related headlines occasionally make the tabloids not many people know how mine removal is carried out on the ground or how the presence of mines affects the daily lives of civilians. The hands-on interactive environment was designed to offer visitors an unparalleled insight into this world.
At the heart of the installation are reactive electronic replicas of the potentially lethal devices which are presented as both artefacts accompanied by imagery and as part of a simulated minefield.
When training mines are disturbed beyond a randomly set threshold they ‘detonate’, triggering auditory, visual and tactile stimuli which communicates this event. Visitors can be caught by surprise, leaving them with a memorable experience, transforming a perceived understanding of a danger into a tangible one.
The interactive elements were accompanied by a publication (book) outlining the findings as part of a detailed visual map of mine action, created to illustrate the interwoven stories of stakeholders that had been collected throughout the project. The use of imagery of landmine victims and short stories provided a sense of realism and consequence to the interactions.