The mobile app Mariah calls out the tainted financial support provided to cultural institutions by the Sackler family. Their company, Purdue Pharma, is a key contributor to the opioid epidemic that has claimed more than half a million lives in the United States. Named after Mariah Lotti, a Massachusetts teenager who died by overdose in 2011, the app allows users to point their phones at Sackler-funded art and artifacts and see superimposed information about the crisis. While Mariah raises awareness of the opioid epidemic, it also asks larger questions about the moral cover that philanthropy provides, probing who ultimately pays for such donations (in this case, the overdose victims and their loved ones). Mariah also presents a new form of protest, in which citizens digitally overtake a cultural space to reframe the narratives of its artifacts.
A new version of Mariah, created for Strikethrough, prompts visitors to Bay Area sites of protest to learn about objects in the exhibition. Learn more.