I Saw This: Over and Over-Exposed

Claudia X. Valdes at Lawrimore Project.

A screen spirals with squares, each filling, one after the next, with gorgeous, diminutive nuclear explosions. It's a visual laying of tile, using footage from the first televised broadcast of a nuclear test on March 17, 1953 (with a brief introduction by Walter Cronkite). [This piece has been corrected since it was first posted. It originally gave the year as 1943.] Mushroom clouds rise and disperse, with repeated sirens, while mechanical noises recall both slide projectors and video-game soundtracks. It's pretty and hideous both, this five-minute-long digital video, which you'll get all to yourself inside a viewing bunker at Lawrimore Project. Entitled 192:291, the piece is part of New Mexico artist Claudia X. Valdes' first solo exhibit. The first number in the title refers to the number of countries that existed when the video was created (in 2002); the second figure is the atomic number of plutonium. According to the wall text, "As the piece unfolds, 192 repetitions of the film are tiled at half-second intervals. The viewer can calculate: if every country were hit by 3 repeated bombs, the complete destruction of the world occurs in 5 minutes." I am not sure if you need to know all this, as the images, over and over, make their own visual attack. 

 
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