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Jeremy Faludi, 11 Jul 05


July 16, 2005 will be the 60th anniversary of the Trinity test--the first detonation of a nuclear bomb and the beginning of the atomic age. The SimNuke Project is an artistic endeavor to make people remember. Part somber activism and part massive pyrotechnics, SimNuke will have three parts:

  • A simulated nuclear blast "somewhere in the desert"
  • A gallery show in San Francisco
  • The planting of The Trinity Grove near Los Alamos

  • Supported by The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and The Nuclear Policy Research Institute, SimNuke aims to remind a complacent and forgetful world of the gravity of nuclear weapons. Those who worry about their children growing up in today's world touched by terrorism should remember that we and our parents grew up in a world threatened by global thermonuclear war, which makes today's threats look like a walk in the park. We should also remember atomic-age / cold-war history when making policy, to help us rise above the politics of fear.

    As they describe the project on their website,
    "The Simnuke Project is performance art. It is protest in response to nuclear weapons. It is a commemoration of Trinity - a moment in history that forever changed the world. We will hold a mirror up to this subconscious reality through a real life portrayal of the visceral experience of a nuclear device detonation. On all levels - as art and as historical statement - every aspect of the Simnuke Project aims to raise awareness and heal... In creating a huge mushroom cloud of fire, we seek to reclaim some of the limitless destructive energy unleashed 60 years ago. By inviting other artists to interpret the event in a gallery exhibition, other pieces will further this conversation beyond the Trinity anniversary itself. The Trinity Memorial Grove will leave a lasting legacy, preserving the awareness raised by the project and helping to heal the environment."

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    My parents, hell -- *I* grew up in a world threatened by global thermonuclear war. (We're not exactly free of that worry today, either.)

    Folks intrigued by SimNuke might want to check out photographer Michael Light's book 100 Suns.

    Posted by: Emily Gertz on 11 Jul 05

    yeah, now that you mention it, I did too. I'll tweak the sentence.

    Posted by: Jer on 11 Jul 05

    I can't seem to escape the irony that the Pentagon is doing something very similar to part of the SimNuke Project: simulating nuclear explosions as a means of improving weapons design.

    I certainly approve of the gallery and the year tallying grove of trees but it seems a better idea, rather than giving people an expensive fireworks display (Hollywood has utterly deadened us to explosions of all sorts.), to tour people around nuclear weapons facilities (Sub ports, bomber bases, missile silos, metallurgy labs.) in the US, Russia, France, China, the UK, India, Pakistan, Israel, etc. etc. to remind people that these things are still sitting in "parking mode" and that new ones are still being designed by a growing number of countries.

    Sad thing is that military officials won't let us within miles of active facilities. Sigh.

    But I do agree that people must be reminded that the danger has not passed.

    Posted by: Mr. Farlops on 11 Jul 05

    i'm from former czechoslovakia, the country in-between germany and russia, and a nuke blast was one of my first longing nightmares. the dream of just going home from school, then sun getting bigger and brighter, with mushroom around... i should see the art, maybe it would help to clean that mess we were fed with since kindergarten, learning to wear gas masks and plastic bags...

    Posted by: Josef Habr on 13 Jul 05

    Those can be eerie memories. I remember doing "duck and cover" drills (in case of nuclear attack by the Soviets) in kindergarten. The teachers called them fire drills, which was really confusing: how would crouching under my desk save me from a fire?

    Posted by: Emily Gertz on 13 Jul 05



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