Gail Rothschild

Hot Spot

1991


Hay, Army Surplus Blankets, steel, canvas, and printed letters. Installation size variable.
Commissioned by the University of Massachusetts. Amherst, MA

The town of Amherst, Massachusetts was named for Jeffery, Lord Amherst – Commander-In-Chief of British forces during the French and Indian war. In June 1763, Amherst responded to a letter informing him that Smallpox had broken out in the British army hospital: “You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race.” The gift of blankets infected with Smallpox devastated a Native American population that had no resistance to the white man's disease.

I wrote letters to scientists, activists, and military personnel involved in biological weaponry and public policy soliciting their statements about the current situation in the context of this project. My letters and their responses hung on the walls of the gallery.

On twenty cots of steel and canvas lie figures made of hay and red clay. These figures are covered with wool blankets on which are stenciled in white the names of various diseases that the United States Military has researched for their potential use in biological warfare.

A “Hot Spot” is a site so contaminated with an infectious agent that it must be completely and permanently sealed off.

Hot Spot, 1991
Hay, Army Surplus Blankets, steel, canvas, and printed letters.
Installation size variable.

Hot Spot, 1991
Hay, Army Surplus Blankets, steel, canvas, and printed letters.
Installation size variable.

Hot Spot, 1991
Hay, Army Surplus Blankets, steel, canvas, and printed letters.
Installation size variable.

Hot Spot, 1991
Hay, Army Surplus Blankets, steel, canvas, and printed letters.
Installation size variable.

Hot Spot, 1991
Hay, Army Surplus Blankets, steel, canvas, and printed letters.
Installation size variable.

Hot Spot, 1991
Hay, Army Surplus Blankets, steel, canvas, and printed letters.
Installation size variable.

Hot Spot, 1991
Hay, Army Surplus Blankets, steel, canvas, and printed letters.
Installation size variable.

Hot Spot, 1991
Hay, Army Surplus Blankets, steel, canvas, and printed letters.
Installation size variable.