A film surrounding around the footage of the Atomic Bomb being detonated. The viewer watches in a sealed room. Lights off. Speakers surround you.
War. Time. Destruction.Meditation. Violence. Love. Nature. Humanity.World War II is fresh in the air. In the film, Crossroads Bruce Conner explores and exploits every one of these themes through the footage of the Atomic Bomb testing that took place in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in July, 1946. Conner forces the viewer to sit and watch as the bomb is dropped. Sit and think. Mushroom cloud forms. Fumes fill the air. The surrounding environment buckles and bends to the shattering of the land, sea, and air. A wall of water erupts into the sky like the volcanic ash of Pompeii. You sit. You watch. You breathe. In. And out.
This piece, despite being so time and event specific, has transcended timeless and eternal themes into today using history from the past. The themes that are conveyed through the just simply the act of watching this film beginning to end are not confined to its historical context. Conner explores the dark recesses of the human psyche. Our obsession with weapons of mass destruction and fascination for inventing bigger and badder weapons. The effect of humans on the environment around us and the total disconnect between our impact and the natural world. Violence: Police brutality, riots, guns, bombings, terrorism.
Conner’s film also evokes feelings of tranquility, of peace and quiet. The monotonous sound of the explosion bellows from the speakers and soothes the body and the mind, creating a juxtaposition with the corresponding visuals. The moment the bomb hits the water, energy is shot into the sky. Like a migration of birds, it soars into the sky and floats on the atmosphere. The same way the human heart and mind chemically explode when falling in love.
Conner’s film and his focus on the 1946 explosion ripples into commentary on society, the human mind, and the environment that surrounds us, even today.
Through my taxonomy, I organized and deconstructed the piece by the psychological and environmental elements that are communicated in the film.