Atomic Landscapes

"Minutes of Midnight" by Claudia X. Valdes
“Minutes to Midnight” by Claudia X. Valdes

Atomic Landscapes
March 21 — May 5, 2016

IDEA Space

The story of development and testing of nuclear weapons is inscribed on the land, and is particularly visible in test sites and mines in the West and Southwest, where miles of land have been re-shaped by cataclysmic human agency. Using key strategic nuclear sites in the West and Southwest as focal points, Atomic Landscapes examines the various ways in which we continue to uncover and understand our secret nuclear history and its continuing legacy.  Featured artists Jeremy Bolen, Nina Elder, Eric LoPresti, Patrick Nagatani, the National TLC Service, and Claudia X. Valdes raise questions about how we incorporate — or completely ignore – our nuclear history as represented by physical sites such as the White Sands Missile Range or the Nevada Test Site, into our personal, cultural, and political narratives.

Curated by Jessica Hunter-Larsen, IDEA at Colorado College
Assistant Curator: Briget Heidmous

Sponsored by: The Cultural Attractions Fund, The Hulbert Center for Southwest Studies, and The Environmental Program.

Atomic Landscapes and associated programs are sponsored by: The Cultural Attractions Fund; The Hulbert Center for Southwest Studies; The Colorado College Art Department/Stillman Fund for Exhibitions; The Environmental Program; The Colorado College History Department. Curated by Jessica Hunter-Larsen, IDEA at Colorado College.

Presented as part of Pollinate: Biennial Arts Festival, exploring the theme of ENERGY across southern Colorado, April 1-9, 2016. | #PollinateCOS #Energy


Opening | Atomic Landscapes Opening Reception and Panel Discussion
Tuesday, March 22, 4:30 – 6:30 pm
IDEA Space and The Cornerstone Arts Center Film Screening Room

At the opening event, featured artists Eric LoPresti, Jeremy Bolen, Nina Elder, and Sarah Kanouse will join Colorado College faculty members Marion Hourdequin, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Jeffrey Treviño, Assistant Professor of Music to discuss the environmental, political, and emotional legacies of the atomic bomb and the Cold War.


Lunch and Lecture | The Apocalyptic Sublime with Eric LoPresti
Wednesday, March 23, 12:15 – 1:30
Buffet opens at 11:45; lecture begins at 12:15
Gaylord Hall, Worner Center

Eric LoPresti explores the imposition of technology upon the environment in the aftermath of the Cold War. His dramatic landscapes juxtapose abstract elements with representations of the vast deserts of the American West, exploring relationships between science, identity, history and conflict. LoPresti holds a BA in Cognitive Science from the University of Rochester and an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art.


Film | The Nuclear Cinema: A Mashup of Atomic-Era Films
Wednesday, March 23, 5:00 – 7:30pm
IDEA Space & Cornerstone Arts Center Film Screening Room

5– 6: “Atomic” beer tasting in IDEA Space
6 – 7: Film clips and discussion in the Film Screening Room

Image result for Dr. Strangelove

Inspired by the theme of the Atomic Landscapes exhibition, an interdisciplinary panel of experts, artists, and students will screen and discuss clips from films that address the nuclear age. Film selections include popular blockbusters, informative documentaries and indie gems. Audience participation in the discussions is encouraged! Presenters include: Scott Krzych, Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies; Steven Hayward, Associate Professor of English; Joan Ericson, Professor of Japanese; David Havlick, Associate Professor of Geography & Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs; and Sarah Kanouse, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Interdisciplinary Arts at Northeastern University, Boston.


Lecture | Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats by Kristen Iversen
Thursday, March 24,6:00 – 7:30pm
Celeste Theatre, Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Building

Dr. Kristen Iversen’s lecture is based on her critically acclaimed book, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats. Inspired by a desire to probe the secrets that surrounded her during her childhood in a small town near Rocky Flats, Full Body Burden is both a work of autobiographical nonfiction and a thorough piece of investigative journalism. Based on extensive interviews, FBI and EPA documents, and class action testimony, the book presents a detailed account of the government’s sustained attempt to conceal the effects of the toxic and radioactive waste at the site, Dr. Iversen’s lecture will weave together her personal experiences growing up near Rocky Flats with her investigative research into the plant, its operations, and its history, to present a compelling story of the site which was at one time designated “the most contaminated site in America.”


IDEA Cabaret | Power + Authority in the Nuclear Era
Tuesday, April 5, 4:30 –6:00pm

In this IDEA Cabaret, featured artist Nina Elder discusses her lifelong fascination with the nuclear industry in the Southwest in conversation with Dan Miller, Professor of Liberal Arts at the Colorado School of Mines. Elder and Miller will explore the history of the development of nuclear science and the weapons industry in the southwest. The event will conclude with a live electronic music performance by Glen Whitehead that will create a sonic landscape inspired by the nuclear era.

Nina Elder grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and New Mexico where she cultivated a curiosity about gravel pits, mines, and military sites.

She earned an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and is the founder of the artist residency program PLAND: Practice Liberating Art through Necessary Dislocation and currently is the Residency Director at the Santa Fe Art Institute.

Interested in the intersections between scientific and artistic exploration, Dan Miller has taught courses such as History of Science and Nature and Human Values at the Colorado School of Mines. He received degrees in literature from the University of Colorado-Boulder (B.A.) and the University of Iowa (Ph.D.). Before coming to CSM, he taught at the University of Northern Colorado,North Carolina State University, and Iowa State University.

Glen Whitehead is a musician and interdisciplinary artist working seamlessly across musical genres, media and artistic disciplines. Erasing boundaries is his forté from contemporary, classical and jazz performance, to premieres of new works, his own brand of environmental, electro acoustic improvisation & composition, and collaborative composition across Dance, Theatre and Visual Arts.

IDEA Cabaret | Student Interventions
Tuesday, April 12, 4:30 – 6:00pm
IDEA Space

Students in multiple courses contributed to the Atomic Landscapes exhibition and related programming. At this IDEA Cabaret, students will present and perform their scholarly and creative work.

Performance | People’ s EIS
Tuesday, April 6 at 6:00 PM
Cornerstone Arts Center Film Screening Room

Corporate interests cozy to government planning collide with uphill  upheaval in First Strike Theatre’s People’s EIS. Spoofing an environmental hearing on military expansion, troupers expose Ft. Carson’s history and current reach.