Site A ()

Site A is the non-descriptive name given by the U.S. Department of Energy for a small clearing in the woods of Palos Forest Preserve in Cook County. In the clearing the only evidence of this sites past history is engraved on a stone at the end of a dirt path. The stone explains: “THE WORLD’S FIRST NUCLEAR REACTOR, WAS REBUILT AT THIS SITE IN 1943 AFTER INITIAL OPERATION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO”. The sign goes on to explain that this and a second reactor are buried at this location.

Site A is the first in a series of works investigating place and memory through robotic video projection. From numerous hikes out to the location a computer program was created to choreograph the movements of a video camera mounted on a motorized tripod. Re-contextualized in the exhibition space, the video is projected using the same mechanism following exactly the same ...

Full Description

Site A is the non-descriptive name given by the U.S. Department of Energy for a small clearing in the woods of Palos Forest Preserve in Cook County. In the clearing the only evidence of this sites past history is engraved on a stone at the end of a dirt path. The stone explains: “THE WORLD’S FIRST NUCLEAR REACTOR, WAS REBUILT AT THIS SITE IN 1943 AFTER INITIAL OPERATION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO”. The sign goes on to explain that this and a second reactor are buried at this location.

Site A is the first in a series of works investigating place and memory through robotic video projection. From numerous hikes out to the location a computer program was created to choreograph the movements of a video camera mounted on a motorized tripod. Re-contextualized in the exhibition space, the video is projected using the same mechanism following exactly the same choreographed path in the original recording. The sky and treetops projected on the ceiling and upper wall create a virtual window transforming the exhibition space. The audio recording of this event includes the sounds of cicadas at their peak and the occasional airplane. The viewer is not aware of the history of this site until the final images are projected of this landscape on the lower wall showing the engraved stone. The scale of this robotic-video installation is quite flexible ranging from approx. 20ft length & width x 13 ft height down to 10 ft length & width and 8 ft high. The actual projection sequence is divided into 2 segments. The aforementioned summer sequence is followed by a winter sequence shot in 2008. Shot from the same camera position; this cold landscape stands in stark contrast to the vitality and color of the summer segment.

I am interested in the dualities that exist in such spaces as Site A. We live in a world of contradictions and paradoxes. Here the land, which we now use for recreation and preservation, covers a nuclear waste site. I see this as an example of the current situation in our world; where we are forced to live with our past. I want the viewer to find the space seductive both through image and sound and juxtapose this with the sites history and reality. We tend to overlook our past, turning a blind eye to what we have done. We bury things.

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