On the occasion of the invitation to participate in SITElines: 2014, SITE Santa Fe's new biennial dedicated to contemporary art from the Americas, Amy Franceschini and Michael Swaine of Futurefarmers made three nails.
For Want of a Nail engages New Mexico's complex nuclear history as it relates to land use, resource extraction and the breadth of decisions that were made within the Manhattan Project. Two inter-office memoranda found at the Los Alamos Historical Museum guide the process and form. Sent from the office of Dr. Robert Oppenheimer (lead physicist of the Manhattan Project) office in 1943, these memoranda describe a table for his office and a nail to hang his hat. The persistence and specificity of a request for a nail for Mr. Oppenheimer's hat (mentioned in both memoranda) inspired Futurefarmers to hesitate in this peculiar moment -- to make, by hand, this nail.
By forging, casting and fusing a range of materials a series of three nails emerged. The choice of materials used to make these nails mines the history of toolmaking from the pre-historic use of meteorites as tools to the material by products of such events as the testing of the atomic bomb. The process began by procuring a Meteorite found in Canyon Diablo, Arizona. Using fire and force, the first nail was forged -- one of a kind. A second nail was made through a process of casting 1943 steel pennies. These pennies, also known as "war pennies" were made of only stell, as the copper was needed for ammunition. These pennies were melted and poured into a graphite mold alluding to notions of mass production and the multiple. A third nail was made by re-fusing Trinitite, a material that was formed by the heat from the atomic bomb test whereby sand was drawn up inside the fireball itself and then rained down in a liquid form and resulted as a glassy residue left on the desert floor. Everything that grew on the earth's surface from this point forward was inscribed with what scientists call the isotopic fingerprint -- a permanent record of this event. These three nails provide an arc of inquiry into moments when humans have eclipsed their knowledge and power.
This booklet was released at SITE Santa Fe on December 8. It is printed on manila paper and bound with a pamphlet stitch.
- 5.5" x 8.5"
- Free Reading Commons
This item originated from: Pilot Editions