Here is my concept proposal (The Evolution of Silence) for The Last Nuclear Bomb Memorial in the decommissioned nuclear testing site, Yucca Flat (Nevada Test Site).
Drawing, digital collage, archival ink jet print, 16.54 x 23.39 inches (A2), 2021
From the competition brief:
“We support the call for a ban on nuclear weapons.
“In response to the global silence surrounding the issue of nuclear weapons, designs must be submitted with no description text. Ideas must be communicated strictly with visuals. Propose any building functionality and scale.”
My proposal—is not a careful site, not singular, not clean—it is emotional, entangled, absurd, unfathomable, a path of perspective.
I combined several drawings to render a complicated expressive path—one that could provide access around the Yucca Flat terrain, not only to visit detonation sites but also to give presence to the in-between spaces around them—so to acknowledge the damage that is visible and invisible.
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?
Here is a selection of recent experiments and interpretations of the cables that lie around the NTS. I have several drawings that have already been incorporated into the web-based archive and I am trying to find other ways to evoke landscape and the ruins of nuclear testing through line and space. The little handheld scanner I use allows me to ‘draw’ as I capture; recorded is the new ‘drawing’ which re-interprets fragments of the original drawing. Each scanning event involves gesture and movement, and the unknown. It is always a surprise to see how the original drawing is transformed.
Drawing with a scanner is a new expressive approach for me that came out of my workshop week at Design Inquiry/Design City: Berlin this past August. Special thanks to Florian Sametinger and the Design Research Lab for the opportunity to continue this visual experiment.
Over the last week I have been preparing my research goals and itinerary for an upcoming trip to Nevada. I will be visiting and meeting people from the Nevada State Museum’s Cahlan Research Library, the University of Nevada Las Vegas Library and Special Collections, the Springs Preserve, the Atomic Testing Museum, the Las Vegas News Bureau, the Emergency Arts Center, the National Desert Wildlife Range, and the Nevada Test Site.