Thank you to everyone who has contributed to my USA Projects fundraiser over the last two days! The USA Projects Open Match Fund matched $250 of your contributions. Please continue to share the link. Thank you!
All donations are tax-deductible and the fundraising model is ‘all or nothing.’ If you have not yet made a donation, please know that your contributions will make a difference and will mean a lot to me. I have a few art perks to offer for donations at $50 or $100 (at the Haymaker or Noggin levels—named after denotations, of course!).
Please consider making a contribution today and share the link with others!
Pahranagat Valley, NV, first research trip in 2008.
In related news: the Web-based archive will launch in 10 days! I will be presenting it in conjunction with ‘Praxis and Poetics’ at the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, September 3–5. This week my focus is to develop the section of the website that presents and interprets the LA Darling Co Mannequins. As you saw in my USA Projects video, I have a lot of research material to incorporate!
Scans of mannequins and tests. Images courtesy of the National Archives.
I have been working on the writing for about two weeks, and just finished the video yesterday. I have one month to fund the project and I need your help. Please consider contributing, and do share the link with others! Thank you!
About USA Projects: a nonprofit organization that provides a platform for artists and designers to raise money for their independent work. Supported by separate donations, they charge no fee to artists to use their website tool.
I added 296 images to my Web-based archive last week. The ‘before’ and ‘after’ test shots (or ‘pre’ and ‘post’ shots) that I acquired via Freedom of Information Act Request from the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Nuclear Security Administration, Nevada Site Office are now included in the project.
If you are visiting the project site, be sure to ’empty your cache’ and ‘refresh.’
File > Develop > Empty Caches
I am working towards my September 1 launch date. BETA 1.2 is up. I am now taking advantage of the interval pause between the background images (as they fade in and out of one another behind the tiling of the valley) to evoke the sight and trace of atmospheric tests.
Here is the background image in the body of the HTML (behind all the other background images that show the ground level of the landscape). Still fine tuning the timing of those interval pauses.
From my field notes (2008):
go or no go
braced for heavy wave of motion
suddenly a great ball of light
ball of orange
a long mass of blue
swirling clouds of desert dust and sand
I am in the studio, finding a creative work flow, and engaging some of my material (drawings, prints, photos) in different ways. In describing these experiments to a friend, she said they sounded meditative. I love this insight. She offered thoughts on documentation, documentation of performance, and animation. After our talk, I am inspired to continue the experiments, now with greater emphasis on time structure and meaning. Currently, these are shot without much thought to duration and pacing (though there were clearly ‘seasons’ to nuclear testing, periods of intense activity and then of pause). I would like to be more sensitive to this in my project.
I don’t know how these experiments will exactly influence my project yet, but I feel it is important to try some new things in my studio, especially as I test ideas that relate to these questions: What lies at the core of successful interaction? Is the process of mapping and dismantling a reflective practice? How do I create the conditions for this, for myself and for others?
The web-based archive of ‘The Evolution of Silence’ will officially launch on September 1, 2013. I have made progress this week and am now sharing the BETA site more widely for feedback. Over the next two months, I will be incorporating more of my research material, writing, and art (solar prints, animations, and coaxial cable drawings, etc.), testing programming and design ideas on my local file, and updating the BETA versions regularly for your feedback.
Be sure to empty your browser cache each time to view the changes. Currently the site works well in Safari and Firefox.
Instructions for emptying your cache in
File > Develop > Empty Caches
These last several weeks have been dedicated to setting up summer opportunities and seeking funding. In May, the semester ends and I can concentrate again on my studio work, exhibition proposal, and more grant applications.
I have recently added a scale to the web-based archive, and have been working behind the scenes with the code to include an introductory statement, and to solve a few problems. Some of those tests and explorations are not yet live. If you are interested in checking out progress on the website (The Evolution of Silence), here is the link.
I am happy about my current lineup of accepted projects/opportunities, and hope to take part in all. It depends on whether I receive funding for travel.
DesignInquiry Station, Vinalhaven, ME
July 2013 or August 2013
Open Air Printers Studio, Goldwell Residency
Rhyolite and Las Vegas, NV
Praxis and Poetics, Research Through Design Conference and Exhibition
Northumbria University/Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
Newcastle upon Tyne/Gateshead, UK
I finished fixing the coordinates last week, and now the images tile correctly to form a view of every single detonation in Yucca Flat. It is intentional that it is still fragmented, in order to make visually clear that in those areas of the valley no nuclear detonation occurred. These gaps in information are views through the accumulated image, and lead to more and more complex layering of image, text, video. My goals with these layers are to explore the valley over time, convey dynamics and scale, present the ruins of testing, and share documentation of the impact on people’s lives and the environment. At the moment, photographs from the Desert Wildlife Range and the surrounding areas of the Nevada Test Site are visible.
My plans for Part One (the web-based part):
1. Create a scale that shows proportion and relates the images of detonations to geography.
2. Create more complex and transforming soundscapes.
3. Connect sounds to each detonation that convey their yield or detonation type, or some other attribute.
4. Explore CSS animations to convey yield of detonation.
5. Create more drawings and expressive scans to incorporate as hover captions to detonation images.
6. Create captions that load dynamically for the lightbox images.
7. Animate vector drawings to convey impact and yield of detonation.
8. Create a toggle option to view the project organized by time continuum or by location (currently it is a combination: the atmospheric tests are organized by time and the underground tests by location).
9. Create a text list of every detonation as a way to emphasize the naming of tests and to help viewers locate detonations in the tiling.
10. Create search function so that a viewer’s entry point could be a date, or a name, or an Area of the valley. Currently one travels from most northern part of the valley and heads South.
11. Create a system for showing how the viewer is navigating North, South, East, West.
12. Incorporate other archival research:
USGS photographs of detonation sites (before and after)
images of atmospheric tests from the National Archives
images of mannequins being dressed and set in houses
images of mannequins from the JC Penney advertisement (before and after)
images newspaper articles on the mannequins and other tests
images of houses, cars, furniture, food items, roof tiles, paint samples, animals tested
transcript (or recordings): for example of Baneberry trial
images of protests
images of ephemera and printed material
transcripts of oral histories
notes from two Nevada Test Site tours
13. Create a participatory interface in which viewers can submit their own interpretations or repsonses to form a layer on the site.
Part Two, as you may remember from earlier introductory posts, is to extend the website into an exhibition. I am hoping to have more time soon to design a proposal and to research ways to translate interactivity for the web into an interactive physical environment.
The Emily Carr University of Art and Design has archived the ‘Remaking Research’ symposium online. Here is the link to video documentation of presentations made in ‘Featured Research Projects’ under the theme ‘The Political Economies of Research’ on Friday, November 2, 2012. My presentation is third.
More stills from my presentation. My map of Yucca Flat in detail:
I love to talk about the research, the data I gathered, and the role my Excel sheet plays in the programming and design. I always show images of it.
Drawing is often a way to get to know something, and it lives on in my web-based project:
My vision for the Web: spatial, simultaneous, exploratory.
It’s especially moments like these when I wish I could afford to hire a studio assistant. After hours of mapping Yucca Flat last fall, I realized in proofing details in my code, that some of the coordinates for the map are wrong, and that the web is not translating parts of it correctly. It’s difficult to pinpoint where the mistakes are (with so many images tiled upon another), so I have no other option but to go through each detonation again. I will copy the ‘x’ and ‘y’ coordinates again for each: from my master map in Illustrator into my database in Excel (the file that drives the web map). This is a time-consuming task and, as a result, my other studio plans come to a halt. The map is one of the dominant visual features to the archive and it must be accurate. Starting today, let’s see how long this takes me.
My map in Illustrator (Area 2 and 10 in view):
The web version where you can see some detonations are not tiling correctly:
All Areas highlighted in Illustrator:
The database in Excel, with columns for x and y coordinates isolated: