A carapace is the dorsal shell of a number of animals, including turtles and tortoises. The carapace is the exoskeleton, so it grows along with the animal, serving as a primary defense against enemies. The innate quest for safety and security is fundamental to all species, including humans. The symbols of security are everywhere, as we seek to protect ourselves in an increasingly dangerous world. Represented by the carapace, our system of defenses has evolved as we have grown and matured. It has been programmed into us, we create it ourselves through learning, and it serves both as our protector and as our boundary.

The quest for security can be thwarted, so the carapace may be thin, transparent, and even ineffective. The protective instincts and massive carapace of the sea turtle have allowed it to survive its natural enemies for 90 million years; yet, in just a few generations, man has driven these creatures to the brink of extinction. The rock-armoring originally created to protect the shorelines of barrier islands from erosion actually promotes erosion. The Inca civilization built remarkable fortresses of stone and storehouses that could provide their armies with food for ten or more years. However, they were ultimately conquered, in large part not by martial strength, but by the smallpox that the Spanish invaders brought with them to the new world.

My project, "Carapace," explores the frailty of our defenses.