Vague Space is a hybrid documentary project and photo-sculptural art installation that examines the opioid epidemic in MA. The components of the work–still photographs, audio interviews and found objects–come from cities surrounding Boston, MA. These areas are hit particularly hard by the opioid epidemic and the exhibit serves to shed light on that environment. Vague spaces are areas right in the middle of civilization that are unused if not forgotten–they can also represent a state of being. 

Still photos of anonymous individuals who use opioids or sell drugs and the landscapes they inhabit are printed directly on artifacts collected in the in-between places of these cities. Mattresses, doors, highchairs and other castoff items found in dumpsters, forested areas, back alleys and roadsides become canvases for imagery of a life lived “rough.” 

Viewers walk amongst these objects, challenged to look closer at objects culled from places not normally visited by “average folk.” This physical dirtying of the hands is accompanied by a similar aural immersion. As they travel through the space, viewers hear the oral histories gathered from inhabitants of the vague space piped in from above. 

Vague Space calls into question our relationship with others whose experience is a more difficult one, one that is removed from the common experience but not from the human experience.

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© 2019 by Casey Hayward

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