A cast of nineteen fictional characters explore the post-Atomic Age West in this video installation, Slouching Towards Yucca Mountain. Funds in the amount of $9,500 are sought for video editing, completion of an installation and creation of an artist book/exhibition catalog.
The project explores issues and ironies surrounding the problem of radioactive waste disposal in the United States. The non-linear narrative of Slouching Towards Yucca Mountain involves time travelers who discover these tunnels and question the use and misuse of the so-called “empty wastelands” of the American West.
Using tropes and clichés of the Western film and science fiction film genres, a subtext of environmental exposé unfolds in a suspenseful talk: part fact, part fiction. It is set in an ambiguous time period – unstuck in time – partially 19th, 20th and 21st Century.
The project reveals American values and beliefs about nature, conquest, ownership and the use of land, and environmental justice issues. It does so with a mixture of creativity, humor, and dead seriousness.
I want to draw attention to issues of sustainability, renewable vs. non-renewable energy, waste disposition, geological time, and “cowboy extractionary economics.”
With your support I will produce twenty 1-3 minute long video loops: one for each character plus an introduction. The video loops will be incorporated into a series of video sculptures within a room-sized installation.
During a residency at the Goldwell Museum 15 miles from Yucca Mountain, thousands of still phtogrpahs and hours of video footage were shot in Death Valley, CA and the ghost towns of Rhyolite and Goldpoint, NV. During the preliminary project development I worked with former students and emerging artists, Courtney “scrap” Wrenn, Chelsea Noggle, Michel Tallichet, Mia Ardito, Emily Montoya and Benji Geary.
As an interdisciplinary artist who has worked at the confluence of art, science and nature for over twenty years, I feel a responsibility to examine environmental issues and ecological problems through my research and work. This is where my aesthetics and pedagogic ethics merge; I want my work to contribute to future generations.
In 2002 the U.S. government began developing Yucca Mountain as a deep geological repository for high-level radioactive waste. Due to geological faults, and climate uncertainties, the project was terminated; however a maze of excavated tunnels exist beneath the mountain. The U.S. currently has no master plan for permanent disposal of radioactive waste; it is in temporary storage at hundreds of sites across the country. This environmental problem has hardest hit the indigenous peoples of the Western desert lands. I want to raise public awareness, involve communities and initiate discussions through my work.