The “Tunnel of Oppression” was a boldly imagined collection of interactive artwork at Fort Lewis College, highlighting the myriad ways people suffer oppression in modern society.
The artwork had attracted about 100 students, who stood waiting in line to be guided through enactions of oppression so visceral that everyone had to sign a disclaimer on entering.
Inside the exhibit, one woman started crying when confronted by a scene labeled “factory farming,” in which a young man, imprisoned within a fencing-wire cage, his mouth taped shut, stared blankly. Behind him were photos of livestock fated to become our food.
In another room, Nazi guards sprung forward, ordering the tour groups to “back against the wall” with terrifying menace. On abducting one group member, who they hustled behind an enormous black plastic curtain, gas suddenly shot from a corner of the room.
The tour was told it had just become one of the Jews exterminated in the Holocaust.