Apocalypse now: Miniature scenes from the end of the world

Published 28th June 2016
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nix gerber the city apocalyptic library
Apocalypse now: Miniature scenes from the end of the world
Written by Tomo Taka, The Spaces
Traveling is overrated. Just ask New York creatives Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber, who explore otherworldly places from the comfort of their apartment, making dioramas of settings devoid of humans.
Their ongoing series -- titled "The City" -- imagines a parallel universe where humankind is extinct and nature has already started to reclaim the concrete jungle. Think of it as a journey through apocalyptic architecture.
"I'm really not much of a traveler, except in my head. I am by nature a homebody," says Nix. "Rather than go out into the world in search of these scenes, I choose to stay in my apartment and build my own worlds."
Each diorama takes anywhere from seven to 15 months to build. Nix and Gerber started the project in 1999 and have since created about 30 scenes, including a church, library, museum and casino.
Nix acts as designer and builder of the dioramas, responsible for their layouts, color schemes and interior architecture. Gerber then fleshes out the miniature spaces, sculpting tiny props, ranging from skulls and space suits to shoes and animals. Finally, Nix photographs the finished work.
"I have always been drawn to ideas of danger and disaster," says Nix. "With 'The City,' I was taking inspiration from my current surroundings in New York City. I'm surrounded by amazing architecture, neighborhood bodegas, world-renowned museums and cheap Chinese food."
The pair now plan to expand the series beyond interiors and explore outdoor landscapes.
Adds Nix: "I want to encourage people to really think more about the world around them, and the difficulties we as a species are facing."