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What does it mean to live in a post-atomic world? Photography and contemporary art offer a provocative lens through which to comprehend the by-products of the atomic age, from weapons proliferation, nuclear disaster, and aerial surveillance to toxic waste disposal and climate change. Confronting cultural fallout from the dawn of the nuclear age, Through Post-Atomic Eyes addresses the myriad iterations of nuclear threat and their visual legacy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Whether in the iconic black-and-white photograph of a mushroom cloud rising over Nagasaki in 1945 or in the steady stream of real-time video documenting the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, atomic culture - and our understanding of it - is inextricably constructed by the visual. This book takes the image as its starting point to address the visual inheritance of atomic anxieties; the intersection of photography, nuclear industries, and military technocultures; and the complex temporality of nuclear technologies. Contemporary artists contribute lens-based works that explore the consequences of the nuclear, and its afterlives, in the Anthropocene. Revealing, through both art and prose, startling new connections between the ongoing threat of nuclear catastrophe and current global crises, Through Post-Atomic Eyes is a richly illustrated examination of how photography shapes and is shaped by nuclear culture.
About the Author
Claudette Lauzon is assistant professor of contemporary art history at Simon Fraser University. John O'Brian is professor emeritus of art history and faculty associate at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of British Columbia.
"With an interdisciplinary focus and with constant attention to environmental themes ... Through Post-Atomic Eyes bring[s] art history into dialogue with the emerging field of the energy humanities." RACAR
"Through Post-Atomic Eyes presents a critical engagement with the visuality of the atomic in the twenty-first century, post–Cold War and after Fukushima. This book crucially deals with the atomic in terms of the interdependency and interrelationships between nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, which are often overlooked, as well as positioning the nuclear in relation to other global risks and threats." Ele Carpenter, Goldsmiths, University of London