Replica Bombs


"Video footage of scientists demonstrating the potential explosive power of devices used in the alleged 21 July attacks has been seen in court. Woolwich Crown Court heard evidence from explosives expert Clifford Todd, whose team carried out the mock blasts.
He said they blew up replicas of the devices alleged to have been used by the defendants, containing a mix of chapatti flour and hydrogen peroxide" >> BBC <<

>> Watch the footage here <<

Explosions are compressed, amplified, unavoidable and shocking events. They are definitive - the before and after utterly transformed. The film here runs back and forth around the point of explosion, the frame rate slows in a way suggeting time can be manipulated - which of course is a fantasy releasing us from the fateful inevitability of events.

These explosive replicas are kind of imaginative evidence. They are examples or illustrations of what might have happened, pulled out of context and partially abstracted.

Simulations of explosions have an unreal air. Consider these images by photographer >> Sarah Pickering <<


These explosions, using military hardware seem somehow neutered, decorative, like foliage made of fire and smoke. Not so much shock and awe.

One can understand the museological motivation for replicas of celebrity atomic bombs. But their presence is far from simple fact. Looking at these objects is to see a piece of frozen time. A point between pre and post, caught between imagining an object and devistation.


Trinity Atomic Bomb Replica at the >> Hill Aerospace Museum <<, Utah


Perhaps you'd prefer your >> own <<, signed in silver ink by Paul Tibbets and Ted "Dutch" Van Kirk, pilot and navigator on the Enola Gay respectively.


>> Little Boy <<


>> Paul Fryers << exhibition 'Potential and Ground' looks like its just ended at 1 Chiltern Street, 
London. Along with other exhibits, it featured a wooden atom bomb that hums quietly to itself.
>> More <<

The Little Japan vehicle, featuring a pink balloon Little Boy was developed by Kazuya Kanemaru

>> More <<

>> Via WMMNA <<

Which also features Tom Sachs >> 'Sony Outsider' <<


Most of these projects have a kind of retro atomic nostaligia.

>> Gregory Greens <<'Nuclear Device' has a more up to date take on the nuclear device as art genre.

These bomb replicas are cultural objects made to explore the idea of destruction. Imagining total oblivion is perfectly human and totally disturbing. I've always wondered however what was going through the minds of actors as they defused nuclear bombs. I remember Roger Moore dressed as a circus knife thrower. How would you have played it? Imagined heroism or just scowling and feeling empty?

Posted by sam at March 13, 2007 12:17 PM

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