Atomic Tourist: Trinity

Atomic Tourist: Trinity

2014-current

Atomic Tourist: Trinity engages the spectacle of atomic tourism as enacted at Trinity Site, New Mexico, where the world's first atomic bomb was detonated at 05:29:21 MWT on July 16, 1945. 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.

A rehearsal for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, today the significance of Trinity site as a marker for the birth of the atomic age is widely acknowledged. Because it is located deep in the desert, the site does not lend itself to heavy traffic, however, 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.

Over a number of years, Kavanagh has been conducting interviews with atomic tourists about their connection to this history, building an archive of voices and perspectives that reveals a profound collective cultural anxiety filtered through the specificity of the site.