THE Cold War had young children preparing for nuclear war with duck-and-cover practice drills in classrooms across the country and politicians fearing a call from the dreading a call from the red phone prompting the use of launch codes. Now a graphic artist in Los Angeles imagined what it would look like if nuclear explosions were a part of today’s everyday landscape. Clay Lipsky created a series of composite images that juxtaposed pictures of explosions next to inquisitive tourists who, in keeping with today’s culture of participation and constant sharing, would want to see the incidents for themselves. ‘This series recontextualizes a legacy of atomic tests in order to keep the reality of our post-atomic era fresh and omnipresent,’ Mr Lipsky wrote in an explanation about the series. ‘Imagine if the advent of the atomic era occurred during today’s information age. Tourists would gather to view bomb tests, at the ‘safe’ distances used in the 1950’s, and share the resulting cell phone photos online,’ he explained on his website.‘Broadcast media would regurgitate such visual fodder ad nauseum, bringing new levels of desensitization.’Mr Lipsky, who combines is his skills as a photographer and graphic designer in the series, used pictures that he had collected while travelling over the past eight years for the tourist portions of the atomic bomb blast series. He then coupled those off with iconic photos of real nuclear bomb blasts, putting two pieces of real imagery next to one another to create an entirely new product. Mr Lipsky warned that it was the voyeuristic nature of this generation which prompted his series, and he fears that if we were to face a world with more frequent nuclear explosions, his created images may happen in real life. ‘I can only hope that mankind will never again suffer the wrath of such a destructive force, but it is clear that the world would not hesitate to watch,’ he said.                                                      –MO

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 04-Aug-2012 here.