Atomic Tourist: Trinity

Trinity site, New Mexico

Trinity, New Mexico, is an ideologically and historically loaded site that marks the testing of the world's first atomic bomb on July 16, 1945, just prior to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Under the auspices of the Manhattan Project, a secret wartime consortium led by the United States with the support of Britain and Canada, the development and use of atomic weapons presented new orders of destructive capability.

Codenamed "Trinity," the test took place deep in the desert on the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range located 230 miles south of the Manhattan project's headquarters in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Today this 3,200 square mile range is named the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) and remains active in weapons testing and proliferation. On two days each year, the WSMR Public Affairs Office hosts an Open House, and thousands of visitors make the pilgrimage to experience where the atomic age began.

Atomic Tourist: Trinity

2014 - ongoing

[film and photographic archive, book works]

Since 2014, Mary Kavanagh has been conducting on site interviews with atomic tourists about their connection to the Bomb, building an archive of voices and perspectives that reveals a profound collective cultural anxiety filtered through the specificity of the site. This serial compilation of interviews, presented as moving image portraits, examines the Trinity event as a "hyper-object" (something massively distributed in time and space) whose fall out—physical, psychological, and sociocultural—continues to impact us today.


From Daughters of Uranium

Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Alberta
2 March, 2019 - 28 April, 2019

Founders' Gallery, University of Calgary, The Military Museums, Calgary, Alberta
27 September, 2019 - 18 January, 2020

[multi-channel video projection]

Documentary, ethnographic, archival, and poetic, Trinity brings into proximity and conversation the multi-scalar elements that connect down-winders and cold-warriors, peace activists and curious tourists, scientists and humanists, with archival and contemporary footage.