Skip to content →

AFTERMATH: Excerpts from an Extinct Firehouse

Institute for Design and Experimental Art (IDEA)
Sacramento, California

Temporary installation. Wood, burnt lumber and branches, redwood tree, water, rope, mirrors, candles, and charcoal pencil. See the Aftermath quotes page for wall text.

Dimensions: 9′ H x 10′ W x 100′ L

2 wood troughs filled with burnt branches and lumber

Created for a renovated fire station, this installation combined physical elements to address the nature of fire and fire fighting and the role of the firehouse in the preservation of life. A dark X-shaped room was lit by candles and housed two opposing mirrors to create an illusion of a dark smokey hallway. Quotes from fire fighters, some who once worked there, were stenciled on the walls to humanize the space.

A 17-minute documentary video “Cutting Edge Arts: ‘Aftermath: Excerpts from an Extinct Firehouse’ by Judith Blankman” was a Finalist, Hometown, U.S.A. Video Festival, 1990. Produced by Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium and the Institute for Design and Experimental Art (I.D.E.A. Gallery).

X-shaped pool filled with floating candles. A young redwood grows in a center planter.
X-shaped pool with floating candles whose movement was restricted by criss-crossed rope.
V-shaped troughs filled with burnt wood extend into the gallery's L-shape at the X-shaped room.
Troughs spanning the space held burnt lumber and branches. The branches were obtained from the remains of a controlled burn with the cooperation of the California Department of Forestry.
Interior of x-shaped room of burnt plywood, with endless reflection in opposing candlelit mirrors.
Interior of an X-shaped room flanked with mirrors that infinitely reflected walls mounted with lit floating candles. The walls were built from sheets of burnt plywood from a salvage yard.
X-room interior detail: boiling beaker on a shelf.
Water boiled in a beaker to transfer steam that condensed in a glass receptacle inserted into a shelf mounted on the X-shaped room wall
Closeup of trough filled with burnt lumber with wall text in the background.
Burnt lumber was found at a nearby lot that had had refuse from a fire dumped there.

Candle sconce: wick floats in oil and water in a tumbler on copper sheet.
Lighted wicks floated in glasses full of water and oil.
View of wall text from troughs filled with burnt branches.
Quotes from firefighters were written on the walls. To read the full text, see the Aftermath quotes page.