“The bomb was our first weapon. Then it became our diplomacy. Next it became our economy. Now it’s become our culture. We’ve become people of the bomb.” – E.L. Doctorow in Nuclear Rites: A Weapons Laboratory at the End of the Cold War by Hugh Gusterson.
Journalists consider the bombing of Hiroshima the most news worthy event of the 20th century, which has had global, sociological, political, and ecological consequences. Ironically, after winning World War II America began an undeclared war on its own citizens and relentlessly tested bombs in Nevada and Utah, spreading fallout over its own people as well as carelessly exposing soldiers and laboratory employees to radiation. America’s nuclear culture has all the ingredients of post-modern culture including documentary photographs, which have become cultural icons; fragmented images that lend themselves to emotional distancing; as well as an existential perspective of life that could end in a flash. With this series, I work more as an archeologist than an artist, excavating quotes and images that exemplify what a bizarre culture we have become. Imagery and text are often placed in other systems such as science, language, and music notation to create associations between seemingly disparate systems to explore how meaning is construed.
Judy Hiramoto the San Francisco based artist will be having solo shows at the University of Alaska, the University of Southern Oregon, and the University of Nevada this year. Prior to this she has shown at the University of Hawaii, the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, TX; the Korean Cultural Center, LA; and the San Francisco Art Institute. Her images have been published in the book, The Forbidden Stitch: An Asian American Women’s Anthology. She received a commission to create a collaborative tile installation with people who have AIDS in San Francisco.