Suddenly, a bluish white light flashed like an electric welding spark, gas welding torch, or magnesium burning at a time. The world went white. Takeharu Terao (eye-witness to Hiroshima attack, Aug. 6th 1945)

I cannot describe what I really saw because it was like hell on the earth. Kosuke Shishido (eye-witness to the Hiroshima bombing, Aug. 6th 1945)

"My God," he asked himself, "what have we done?" Colonel Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay after dropping "Little Boy" on Hiroshima.

“The light was so intense that there were no shadows.” Eye-witness account from a GI in 1954.

On November 1, 1952, a 10.4 megaton (1000 times stronger than a 10 kiloton blast) thermonuclear (H Bomb) explosion code-named MIKE, ushered in the thermonuclear age. The island of Elugelab in the Eniwetok Atoll, was completely vaporized.

Since that test all coconuts in the Bikini Islands are orange, not white.

"If there's one thing you can say about mankind, there's nothing kind about man." Tom Waits

“I have become death, shatterer of 1000 worlds.” Robert Oppenheimer ‘father’ of the atomic bomb.

“…the employment of the atom bomb for the wholesale destruction of men, women and children is the most diabolical use of science.” Mahatma Gandhi

Cancer, thyroid diseases and birth defects are the skeletons in the closet of the nuclear family. No one likes to talk about the effects of Iodine-131 (which hides in our thyroids), or Strontium-90 (which hides in our bones and teeth), or Cesium-137 (which hides in our muscles); let alone Uranium 235 & 238 or Plutonium 239.

From 1946 through the 1960’s the generation known as the Baby Boomers were exposed to radiation from fallout. In Los Angeles and elsewhere, “downwind” from A-bomb tests, this was particularly true. In some sense we are ALL downwinders.

There have been 1,054 nuclear tests ‘known’ to be conducted by the US between 1945 and 1992.

“First we got the bomb and that was good, ‘cause we love God and motherhood. Then Russia got the bomb, but that’s ok, ‘cause the balance of power is kept that way. Who’s next?” Tom Lehrer

“Boom goes London, Boom Paree, more room for you and more room for me, they all hate us anyhow, so let’s drop the big one now, let’s drop the big one now.” Randy Newman

Broken Arrows: Nuclear Weapons Accidents -- Since 1950, there have been 32 nuclear weapon accidents, known as "Broken Arrows." A Broken Arrow is defined as an unexpected event involving nuclear weapons that result in the accidental launching, firing, detonating, theft or loss of the weapon. To date, six nuclear weapons have been lost and never recovered.

Tactical Warhead Count (as of 2000): China - tactical warheads ~225 Russia - tactical warheads ~5,972 USA - tactical warheads ~7,200

[We were] "so thirsty and there was nothing to drink, no water, and the smoke even disturbed our eyes. As it began to rain, people opened their mouths and turned their faces towards the sky and try to drink the rain, but it wasn't easy to catch the rain drops in our mouths. It was a black rain with big drops." Ms. Akiko Takakura (eye-witness, Hiroshima, Aug. 6, 1945

Pika-don = spark & bang (description of the explosion)

The blast wave (often called the heat wave) traveled at approximately twice the speed of sound (330 meters per second).

A white light followed by complete darkness, then the searing heat and blast wave that both incinerated and turned shattered glass and splinters of wood into projectiles… hell in all directions.

"Where the city stood, there was a gigantic burned-out scar" - Father John Seines

"It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe." - From President Truman's White House press release Aug. 7 1945

The Nagasaki blast (the bigger of the two)levelled Area 6.7 square miles and killed 74,000 outright and injured another 80,000 (half of whom later died). Both blasts combined killed over 250,000 people. BOOM BOOM OUT GO THE LIGHTS!

The first use of a tactical nuclear weapon - Hiroshima, Japan, Aug. 6, 1945

Artist Statement regarding "Absence/Presence" A Collaboration in Poetry and Paint By RuggThorp and Raindog

walled city ~ San Pedro, CA USA ~ August 7-21, 2003

On Thursday, August 7th, RuggThorp and Raindog inhabited walled city for the day and painted words and body shapes onto the walls of the gallery.

Raindog had researched the subject of Hiroshima, the atomic bomb, atomic power and the ensuing fallout. On the walls he painted factoids and quotes pertaining to this subject matter. These words are painted in black, along with a poem written by a friend. As the day passed, Raindog then developed a new poem which appears throughout the room painted in red. The poem emerged out of the things he had learned and the things he witnessed with his eyes and his ears that day

Meanwhile, RuggThorp interacted with the gallery visitors and proceeded to wrap any willing participants in plastic wrap, preparing them for their place on the wall. Once wrapped, the participant then selected his or her own color from the limited choices available. Then RuggThorp chose just the right spot to place them at the wall and began painting wildly.

One participant painted a few lines of her poem in her body shape. Another participant felt that a question mark was necessary. So although this was collaboration between RuggThorp and Raindog, it was collaboration with the participants as well.

RuggThorp and Raindog would like to thank walled city for the opportunity to do this project.

RuggThorp Bio

Shelley RuggThorp studied art at Cal State Long Beach and is interested in creating art that explores the human condition. RuggThorp moves easily between works that are traditional and figurative to works that are of an experimental and performative nature. RuggThorp is especially happy as an artist when she gets the opportunity to interact with the art viewing public, and when elements of chance are thrown into the mix. As you can imagine, RuggThorp was very happy on Thursday, August 7th.

Raindog Bio

In assembling some of this information I relied on a few websites, but primarily the inspiration for this event came from the book, ROUTINE CONTAMINATIONS by Deborah Small and published by Cedar Hill Publications. It is available online at Amazon.com or can be purchased through Small Press Distributors (see link below)

(this page updated 8-20-03)

Some resource sites

Atomic Archive
Very descriptive archive w/ photos and links...
Small Press Distributors
Order Routine Contaminations
The truth shall set you free?...

RD Armstrong

PO Box 5301
San Pedro, CA 90733-5301
United States