238 is a collection of work I produced during a residency in Green River, Utah.
I spent some time trying to think through my feelings on American nationalism while in Green River. On July 4th, I felt the presence of patriotism in a way that has become unfamiliar to me since leaving my conservative birthplace. I came to feel that there are two Americas: That of the material and literal ‘America’–the land itself, and the symbolic, politically abstracted ‘America’ with which I take issue. I tried to isolate one from the other in this video art project.
The textiles used in this project were sourced entirely from discarded donations to the Green River Thrift Store, which exists in a town of only 953 residents. Our ability to be selective in our aesthetic decisions within the context of the available materials suggests an abundance of resources in a desert land characterized by scarcity. The sculpture is animated by prevailing regional winds channeled along the greatest expanse of uninterrupted cliff face in the world.
The project is installed in the abandoned missile launch complex just outside of Green River, Utah. It is a collaboration between Evan Rimoldi and Grayson Earle.
I was somewhat surprised by the lack of dialogue surrounding Green River’s Uranium mining legacy. The shoes of residents (and especially laborers) set off a geiger counter, and while I’m not certain it warrants health concerns, it does demonstrate the reality of a hidden force that has shaped America and the world at large since the turn of the 20th century. Mimicking the historical process that strips the geological context from the Uranium trade during World War II and the Cold War from the abstracted symbolism of the fight against communism and Axis forces, the graphic design I employed simply reads “238.” This number is the Uranium isotope found in Green River and what supplied the A-Bomb used on Hiroshima. The bills were screened with Uranium-laced dust from the surrounding area and mixed with glow-in-the-dark ink before being reintroduced into the money supply.
You Are Here
I did a series of projections on the Epicenter building playing on the themes of recognizing it as a meaningful place (including catching the eyes of Amtrak customers) and the rumors of alien abductions.
Once again inspired by the Uranium mining that played a large role in the formation of Green River, I decided to visualize the process of radioactive decay. This flips the measurement of time on its head, employing a subtractive system of decay. Hours, minutes, and seconds are taken away from the total field that comprises one 24-hour day. No single second in the day appears the same. Your computer may hate you for it, but take a look at the online version here.