Crime

Miami Sculptor's Doomsday Bunker Installation Reported Stolen From Islamorada

Jillian Mayer's nearly completed "Low Res" mobile bunker/sculpture installation was reported stolen from Islamorada over Labor Day weekend.
Jillian Mayer's nearly completed "Low Res" mobile bunker/sculpture installation was reported stolen from Islamorada over Labor Day weekend. Photo courtesy of Jillian Mayer
Jillian Mayer's unassuming 20-foot black trailer disappeared over Labor Day weekend from a private storage lot in Islamorada.

If it was thieves who absconded with the trailer, they might've thought they were getting away with yard tools or a lawnmower. Instead, they got an artist's work four years in the making.

"I’ve been told that when people steal trailers, they expect landscaping equipment or ATVs or fishing gear, but instead they cracked open a sculpture and found a little habitat," Mayer tells New Times.

Mayer, a Miami-based visual artist and filmmaker, had been working since 2018 on the project, which was equal parts artist residency and doomsday bunker. Before she could put on the finishing touches, the trailer/installation, entitled "Low Res," was stolen from the Islamorada lot in the Florida Keys, she says.
The trailer contained a bed, a working shower, and a kitchen complete with a custom ceramic sink. Much of the interior was handmade, as the project was forged in the same aesthetic as Mayer's "Slumpies" series of sculptures, a collection of colorful fiberglass art pieces that were exhibited at the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Mayer tells New Times the Monroe County Sheriff's Office has put out a "Be on the Lookout" (BOLO) notice for the trailer, and says she has reason to believe whoever has it was bound for Miami.

Drawing inspiration from doomsday preppers, Mayer made "Low Res" in the fashion of a survivalist's haven, complete with solar panels, literature on survivalism, and — more worrisome now that they're stolen — knives, nets, and ropes.

"I am interested in how survivalists prepare for disaster, and how the objects they create betray universal anxieties and fantasies around an unstable future," Mayer wrote in promotional material for the art piece.

Mayer claims she was almost done with the project and was in talks with several art venues to host it. She had hoped for it to be a space where artists and creatives could pass time together, but all plans are on hold until the trailer is recovered, she says.

The artist encourages anyone who sees the trailer, which has New York license plates and a distinct after-market window on the side, to call the Monroe County Sheriff's Department's Islamorada substation at 305-664-6480. Witnesses can also message her on Instagram, she says.
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Joshua Ceballos is staff writer for Miami New Times. He is a Florida International University alum and a born-and-bred Miami boy.
Contact: Joshua Ceballos