I don’t want to bring you down on a Friday, but for a bunch of reasons I’d invite you to look at a particular website despite its somewhat discouraging content. For one thing, it shows art as an argument, with all the power and imprecision that “artguments” can have. For another, it’s an impressive use of information technology, something that we touch on from time to time here at Slaw. Then there’s a legal connection, because the site’s in aid of a multilateral treaty.
Isao Hashimoto’s “1945-1998” shows you every nuclear explosion that took place between those dates in the form of a 15 minute time-lapse graphic. The artist’s description puts it this way:
This piece of work is a bird’s eye view of the history by scaling down a month length of time into one second. No letter is used for equal messaging to all viewers without language barrier. The blinking light, sound and the numbers on the world map show when, where and how many experiments each country have conducted. I created this work for the means of an interface to the people who are yet to know of the extremely grave, but present problem of the world.
The film is hosted by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), an interim organization given the job of setting up a verification regime as required by the treaty, which at the moment has 181 signatories.
As you’ll understand, because the film only goes to 1998, it doesn’t include tests conducted by North Korea. And neither does it include any tests that may have been conducted by Israel.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists tells us it’s now only 6 minutes to “midnight,” rather than the 5 minutes it was last year. And I suppose that as the tempo in the film slackens coming up to the last decade, I could believe that things are getting a little. . . saner. See how you feel about it.