Lisi Raskin's "Warning Warum" on Dia's Artists' Web Projects

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Lisi Raskin, Warning Warum, 2009 (Screengrab)

Lisi Raskin, an artist known for her whimsical military command centers and her cross-country information gathering van (official title: Mobile Observation (Transmitting and Receiving) Station), has produced a new project for Dia's ongoing Artists' Web Projects series. Titled Warning Warum, the website is a nuclear control panel that allows visitors to "bomb" locations of their choosing. The playful interface recalls Raskin's signature childlike style, complete with construction paper collages and handwritten buttons. The accompanying audio of the artist also reminds one of a kid at play, with Raskin chirping "beep beep" to replicate the sound of morse code or "oooeeewwwww" for the missile launch. Raskin's style of interface aesthetics emerges from her own upbringing in 1980s America, where the Cold War and the fear of a nuclear blast were in the air. Her low-fi reconstructions can be understood as an intentionally imprecise attempt to come to terms with the threat of nuclear disaster, an event so horrific and overwhelming as to be almost outside the realm of human comprehension.