The essays of the volume range between different art forms (literature, film, music, visual art, performance) and bridge the same contested cultural divides – high and low, ideology and form, art and everyday life – that were once challenged by the avant-garde. Ranging in topics from the Beach Boys to Herbert Eimert, from Scandinavian forests to Warhol’s Factory, the perspectives established and the operations performed in Media and Materiality in the Neo-Avant-Garde thus traverse a network of art and technology that has been crucial for more than half a century, and still is today.
Torben Sangild: The distorted voice 121
121 On March 1st 1954 the United States performed a nuclear Hydrogen bomb test near the atoll Bikini in the Pacific Ocean. It was the begin- ning of “Operation Castle”, where dry fuel thermonuclear device det- onations were performed in attempted secrecy. This first detonation was called “Bravo” and produced a yield of fifteen megatons, which is a thousand times as large as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. The people living on the island itself had been evacuated in 1946.1 One hundred and thirty kilometers from the center of the deto- nation, the Japanese fisher boat called “Lucky Dragon 5” was out fishing as part of its normal routine.2 The boat and its twenty-three crewmembers were exposed to heavy, radioactive radiation from fall- ing ashes. Six of them died slowly and painfully one by one in the course of the following years as a direct cause of this accident; the 1 The case of Bikini is still not settled. Parts of the atoll are still highly radioactively polluted, despite attempts to clean it up, and the native islanders have never been resettled on the island. In the 1960’s some of them returned, but in 1978 they were re-evacuated. Today the area is the host of “atomic tourism” for scubadivers. 2 “Daigo Fukuryu Maru”. This was actually the fourth boat with this name, but since “four” in Japanese is pronounced like “death”, the owner chose to skip that number from the series. Both the name and the number of the boat...
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