» Visual Art
Rachel Poliquin, in her 2012 book The Breathless Zoo, writes that “Taxidermy is deeply marked by human longing,” revealing our hopes and dreams about our place in the natural world. Natural history dioramas present a carefully constructed, perfectly encapsulated and controlled experience of nature, revealing as much about humanity as the nature depicted. In Broken Models, Steensma Hoag negotiates access to dioramas in various stages of being decommissioned and uses these fictional spaces to create imaginary scenes. By introducing a worker wearing a white Hazmat suit, which evokes images of advanced technology labs in which the environment needs to be protected from the worker, the series suggests a scientific method of understanding and quantifying our experience of nature and comments on our failed construction of the environment as an inexhaustible resource.