Trinity Site, New Mexico, USA, 2017
This work was implemented in April 2017 at the Trinity Site base, which is located in vast deserts of the New Mexico State in the Unites States. Recording of the soil surface at the Trinity Site was registered with the use of radiography process – a technique that reflects the effect of extreme irradiation, caused by the atomic bomb explosion – the visual proof of which were the shadows (of people and objects) left on the soil surface after the explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The radiographic technique uses radiation (gamma rays that irradiate the photosensitive plate) as a method of recording and archiving the nuclear trauma – just like an atomic explosion irradiates and mutilates the ground by emitting gamma rays. The created images were captured at the boundary of the visible, constituting a material trace/scar of the invisible trauma. In No Apocalypse, Not Now64, Derrida claimed that the light-filled nuclear catastrophe is non-visual; even more, ”it remains an irreversible destruction that leaves no traces”. Seemingly no traces. Photographic activity conducted in the Trinity Site zone would constitute a negation of this theory, showing both materiality of the image, as wells as presence of radiation. Photographic plates irradiated with gamma radiation – direct, non-camera recording of radiation – are clear evidence of radioactive contamination and nuclear annihilation. Resulting radiographs are the photographic recording of radiation emitted by contaminated soil particles. Process of recording radiation on a photosensitive plate is a (photographic) approach to extrasensory and invisible phenomenon, and transforming the emitted energy into visible intensely sensual experience.
Documentation within the γ [gamma trace] project was carried out at three levels:
1. Photographic and film documentation of post-radiation spaces (in three areas: sky, soil, air).
2. Recording – imprint – trace – index (γ [gamma trace] project]. Visual registration carried out in the post-radiation space – on-site exhibition with the use of radiographic technique. Radiography – recording of gamma rays emission – irradiation of the surface of radioactive ground directly on the photosensitive plate.
Basic data: ■ location: Trinity Site, NM, USA, ■ date: 01.04.2017, ■ soil radiation: 0.5 miliroentgen/hour, ■ technique: irradiation – radiography. ■ applied photosensitive material: Hydro Coat Presensitized Plate, Photo-Polymer Plate, Hydrocoat Resist Plate, Imagon Film, Puretech, liquid photosensitive emulsions; copper sheet metal, zinc, aluminium.
3. Registration of fading process of the irradiated and unfixed images and changes occurring in the photosensitive emulsion – recording of the image that no longer exists, ”past” image that passed and faded, along with the progressing irradiation and final disintegration of photosensitive emulsion.