Decontamination Chamber

A large scale immersive installation designed to reconnect audiences with dirt at Glastonbury Music Festival for the Wellcome Trust.

Festivals can make you filthy – physically as well as mentally. To cleanse the muddy revellers of Glastonbury, the UK’s biggest music festival, Guerilla Science created the ‘Decontamination Unit’: a gigantic white cube containing a hidden network of chambers filled with psychiatrists and microbiologists.

Image: Strong & Co
Image: Strong & Co
Image: Strong & Co
Image: Strong & Co

This large scale immersive installation blended science with theatre and role play. Microbiologists introduced visitors to their internal ‘dirt’ – the bacteria that call us home – via a microbial ‘zoo’ – a brightly lit installation of a hundred multicolored petri dishes containing these bacteria. Visitors were offered either physical or psychological decontamination, following seperate routes through the installation. The psychological route involved a short consultation with psychiatrists and the change to spill a ’dirty secret’ to be broadcast anonymously across the Shangri-La field, whilst the physical route involved removal of contaminated items and an encounter with a Health Protection Agency hazmat suit wearing ‘cleaner.’ Once cleansed, visitors could ascend the Skywalk, a suspended walkway traversing Shangri-La to survey the filth below.

Decontamination Chamber was commissioned by the Wellcome Trust and delivered with Strong and Co as part of Wellcome’s Dirt Season, a series of events intended to encourage people to ‘welcome dirt back into their lives.’

Image: Strong & Co
Image: Strong & Co

To create the Decontamination Chamber, we collaborate with Caroline Methuen, Gavin Humphreys, Joe Latimer, Mark Salter, Priscilla Kent and Public Health England.

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