The Survivors from the Synthetic Age exhibit has been created out of objects found on along the shores of Loch Indaal on Islay, just north of Bowmore, on and around 17th March 2023. The museum is set an undetermined time in the future – but, at the request of the young people attending the Islay Development Initiative’s youth groups of 18th March 2023, it is a future following some kind of apocalyptic episode in our own future.
In this future, something happens that forces the entire human population to flee to the relative safety of life underground. By the time we reach the future in which the museum is set, memories of this dramatic and destructive episode have turned into the story of a violent battle between two monsters, one wielding fire and the other water as their weapons. The monsters lay waste to the earth’s surface as they fight each other, destroying cities and infrastructure incidentally, rather like scenes from Godzilla vs Hydra.
The need to live underground results in the depopulation of islands like Islay, which only have small bunkers to hide in rather than the extensive underground networks of sewers and underground transportation systems found in the big cities of the world. Initially, people survive on stores of tinned and dried food. When these run out, they subsist on a diet of rats, worms and bats.
Ultimately, this inadequate diet forces the return to the surface of the human population. The world that greets them is quiet – the two fire- and water-breathing monsters have long gone, leaving behind them a landscape strewn with rubble and the smashed up, melted and burned remnants of 21st century life. Very little has survived undamaged. It is thus a truly remarkable discovery when some of the intrepid explorers who are re-mapping the now unpopulated west find almost perfectly-preserved relics from this period.