Cornell Box


One of the most important emotions I felt happening in the piece was constant pressure. Even before we knew exactly what was happening in the play’s post-apocalyptic scenario, there was always an uneasy sense that something could go wrong at any time. Hence, I had the idea to essentially put a box inside of a box. I wanted a man-made feeling box under constant pressure from the outside, protecting the delicate humanity within.

And yet, even with the stakes so high, I never wanted to lose the element of whimsy, which is present in the play even during its darkest moments. I coated the outside box of the layer with blue-stained paper. I wanted the blue to communicate depth and pressure, but I think the watercolor texture helps to make the situation feel appropriately absurd.

The same philosophy went for the interior box. It was wrapped in metallic coating, representing the artificial habitat keeping our characters alive, but instead of a solid metal frame, I felt that wrapping a cardboard box in metallic-looking plastic felt appropriate. The whole structure feels a little janky, just like it does in the play.

When it came time to create a collage of the eponymous artifacts, just collecting photographs didn’t feel right. A photograph of a converse shoe wouldn’t have felt as precious as it should, given how the characters felt about it. Thus, I chose to translate photographs to an ink-and-paper sketch. The artifacts feel less solid this way, and also more important.