Monday, April 20, 2015

Atoms, Aliens and the American West Now

MET 22 Kilotons, Nevada 1955

First, Noelle began a discussion of the article "Atomic Theatre," written by Kerry Brougher. We started off with the poem in the beginning of the article, and then moved on to the broadcasting of atomic detonations. A majority of our classmates were disturbed by how interested and captivated they were by the detonations, and we came to the conclusion that the broadcasting of the detonations was, "America flexing its muscles in the mirror." Death and war were both discussed to an extent, causing a majority of class members to become introspective and quiet rather than animated and willing to voice their opinions on the topic. We discussed the entertainment value and beautiful aesthetic of mushroom clouds, and our responses to them as a spectacle event. Also, we briefly talked about the atomic culture in movies.

Jean Tinguely, Study for an End of the World No. 1, September 22, 1961

Next, we began to discuss Jean Tinguely, a leader in kinetic art and self destroying machinery. The topic of self-construction and self-destruction was discussed thoroughly, which our classmates considered to be a way of understanding and coping with the atomic bomb. We discussed over exposure to gruesome and grotesque images and how we have become immune to their impact and effect. The class then viewed A Movie, by Bruce Connor, which in our opinions emotionally drained the class.

Richard Misrach, Desert Croquet, 1987

Alyson started her discussion with Otherwise Known as the Human Condition, a discussion of Richard Misrach and his photography of the west. The topic of landscapes and its effect on Misrach's work was discussed heavily. As artists, we talked about what draws us to landscapes as well as why artists feel compelled to visit nuclear test sites or bomb detonations. We decided that humans are curious beings, and the documentation of "secret places" is always something we are interested in doing. Containing the desert's emptiness and silence was also discussed. A lighthearted contemplation of the Imagination Station in Dooby's Vision helped brighten the mood of the heavy topics of bombs, death, and war.

Portrait of Peter Goin

Also, a majestic portrait of the handsome Peter Goin in a Hawaiian shirt brought laughter to the room and was compared to "everyone who teaches in the animation department." Peter Goin's article The Nuclear Past in the Landscape Present was the next topic of discussion. Past images of locations effected by nuclear testing were compared to more recent images of the same locations. We discussed the importance of preserving the images of atomic bomb testing, its impact on the landscape, and its role in history. The educational opportunities these images provide to teach children about our past, and where these images could be kept (museums, galleries, textbooks) to ensure they are never forgotten.

We did not have very much time to talk about aliens, so we thought it would be nice to provide the links suggested to us by our classmates for futher consideration.

The Aurora Texas Crash of 1897

The Aurora Cemetery

Ghost Particle

Ten credible mermaid sitings

UFO Found on Ocean Floor

Noelle Weigand and Alyson Walbridge

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