“TSA Agents Get a Peep Show”
LeElaine Comer, 29; Kasey Wiedrich, 33; Kristin Lawton, 31; all from Washington
VIDEO: Take a closer look at this diorama
When you’re making a Peeps diorama, is there such a thing as too many cooks in the kitchen? Not for the team behind this sticky spoof on TSA’s heightened airport security measures. Spearheaded by LeElaine Comer, Kasey Wiedrich and Kristin Lawton, a group of eight employees of a District nonprofit organization collaborated on a scene highlighting the injustices — full body scans, pat-downs — suffered by travelers in 2010. “Our hope was to try and capture this dreaded experience in a lighthearted way,” Comer says.
With colleagues Ethan Geiling, Michelle Nguyen, Kim Pate, Jane Hanley and Ida Rademacher, they gathered two days before entries were due and set to work. A craft table played host to a range of teammates constructing outfits, luggage and scenery. “My role is envisioning the whole picture and incorporating the pun,” Comer says. “How do we capture airport security without trying to do too much and without overwhelming any one part of the scene?” The answer: split the diorama in two, creating an overall view of airport security and a behind-the-scenes peek into a screening room.
Along with its eminently relatable subject matter, the diorama makes subtle use of subversive humor, thanks to the image of a Peep on the computer monitor and an eye-catching sign with a clever tweak.
“We happened upon that sign because we were Googling TSA signs, and this is the picture that comes up first, minus the bunny ears,” Comer says.
A finalist in 2009 with a diorama of the Hudson River plane landing, and a semifinalist last year with a re-creation of the snowball fight at 14th and U streets NW, the team stands by its practice of choosing a timely topic at the eleventh hour.
“We typically do this the very last weekend before it’s due,” Comer says. “One of the things that works for us is doing something that’s gotten a lot of media, an image that resonates with people. We play around current themes, so it’s hard to predict what next year will bring.”
“Split Peep Soup Company”