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.
Here are a few of the sun prints that I made last week. There is one print for each of the fifty L.A. Darling Co. mannequins used in the March 17, 1953 Annie Test at Yucca Flat. I am investigating ways to represent damage, disappearance, shadow, and trace, as well as a feeling of irradiation.
The first group of cut-outs in the sunshine. Some prints are scenarios of characters and others are single silhouettes. The compositions are created by overlapping the shapes, shifting their orientation to the light, positioning them at different degrees of contact to the paper, and making multiple exposures.
The results once rinsed in water. The prints are double-sided.
An exploration of memory and destruction, ‘The Evolution of Silence’ is a multi-dimensional project that encompasses drawing, interactive design, mapping, printmaking, and installation. It is a creative investigation into the dramatic transformation of the Yucca Flat valley of the Nevada Test Site (Nevada National Security Site)—the site of experimental, post-World War II nuclear detonations.
I am creating a web-based archive, installation, and publication that present an exploration of a restricted landscape, and a visual mapping and interpretation of its destruction. ‘The Evolution of Silence’ allows one to bypass government boundaries and control of the area, making it possible for any individual to experience a cold war’s aftermath and silence.
The project gives form and expression to the data that I have gathered and organized, and is unique to other existing documentation of the Nevada Test Site in that it preserves an individual view of every nuclear detonation that occurred in Yucca Flat valley (828 nuclear explosions in total). The valley’s pockmarked surface of sink-hole craters is simultaneously beautiful and horrific. Considering the toll on the environment and the cost to human life, the valley is an important symbol of the impact of war.
I have been working on ‘The Evolution of Silence’ for a few years. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte funded my initial field research in 2008 (thank you), and since then, I have been working to design and develop an experience of a place of conflict for others. Thanks to The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, I have a sabbatical for the Fall 2012 semester and am going to be finishing Part 1 of the project: a web-based archive that presents multiple perspectives and experiences of the destruction. Part 2 will take place in 2013, as I prepare for the project’s extension and arrange for its public exhibition.