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These Apocalyptic Dioramas Show Us How The World Could End–In Dollhouse Sizes

These miniature doomsday scenarios show malls overrun by greenery and subway cars crashing into beaches. It’s the end of the world, rendered adorably miniature.

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Will the world end with a bang or a whimper? In the vision of apocalypse-obsessed artist Lori Nix, perhaps a little of both.

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In a series of dioramas photographed for her new book The City, Nix creates snapshots of everyday places altered by unknown catastrophes. A library has its roof torn off, exposing an acid-pink sky (more of a “bang” scenario), while a fish-themed bar looks like it has emerged from a beer-fueled kerffuffle (more of a “whimper”).


Often the images juxtapose the natural with the manmade in disturbing ways. Nix’s mall is overrun by monstrous greenery, while her subway car looks like it has collided with the beach.


She recently spoke with Co.Design about how a childhood full of extreme-weather events, and apocalypse-film binges, in Kansas shaped her work: “Tornadoes, hail storms, blizzards, drought, and the seasonal insect infestation: in May there would be june bugs, July and August would bring grasshoppers, and in the fall there would be wooly worms.”

Each diorama takes months to glue together from foam, wood, and plaster. After Nix photographs each one, she strips it of its reusable material and chucks the rest away. The structures themselves are as temporary as the civilizations they represent.

About the author

Zak Stone is a Los Angeles-based writer and a contributing editor of Playboy Digital. His writing has appeared in TheAtlantic.com, NYMag.com, Los Angeles, The Utne Reader, GOOD, and elsewhere. Visit his personal website here.

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