Originally scheduled for Fall 2020 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the bomb is a multimedia experience by artist Smriti Keshari and critically acclaimed writer Eric Schlosser. The installation design, created by Ben Kreukniet, immerses the viewer within the story of nuclear weapons—from the Trinity Test in 1945 to current discourses today in 2021—in order to explore the perverse beauty and seduction of the machines, alongside the existential threat they still pose.
Inspired by nuclear weapon command and control centers, the bomb’s design suggests the technological fallibility of such systems, the devastating consequences of potential errors and malfunctions, and the impossibility of ever fully controlling these machines. The film at the heart of the installation combines animation with archival footage and an original score by electronic music quartet The Acid. It runs for 59 minutes, displayed on a circular floor-to-ceiling bank of screens with exposed wiring and circuit boards.
Created by Smriti Keshari & Eric Schlosser | Film by Kevin Ford, Smriti Keshari & Eric Schlosser | Music: The Acid | Art Director: Stanley Donwood | Animation: The Kingdom of Ludd | Installation Producer: Hazel Gibson | Installation Design Ben Kreukniet | Technical Lead: Adam Paikowsky
About the Artists
Eric Schlosser is a writer whose work has been published in dozens of countries, performed on stage, and adapted into films. His most recent book, Command and Control, tells the story of America’s effort to prevent nuclear weapons from being stolen, sabotaged, or detonated by accident. It was a New York Times best seller and a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in History.
His two other books were also New York Times best sellers. Fast Food Nation helped start a revolution in how Americans think about what they eat. And Reefer Madness looked at the nation’s underground economy, depicting the plight of undocumented immigrants and the injustices caused by the war on drugs. His next book is on the American prison system.
Schlosser was an executive producer of Richard Linklater’s film Fast Food Nation, Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, the documentaries Food Chains and Hanna Ranch, as well as co-producer of the Oscar-nominated documentary Food, Inc. He was a producer of the documentary Command and Control, which was short-listed for an Oscar.
Smriti Keshari is an Indian-American multimedia artist and filmmaker whose work covers a spectrum of the moving image from traditional, linear filmmaking to art installations. She brings an experimental approach to exploring under-represented themes and experiences outside the mainstream.
Keshari is a former artist-in-residence at Pioneer Works and the National Theatre in London. Her work has been supported by the MacArthur Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, Ford Foundation, and others. She has spoken about art and social change at the United Nations, the BBC, SXSW, Bloomberg Philanthropy, and TED. She was a TED Prize finalist and a 2016 Foreign Policy’s Global Creative Thinker.
She is known for her acclaimed multi-media installation, the bomb, which was heralded as “a stunning avant-garde approach to a plea for nuclear disarmament.” the bomb has been shown throughout the world at film festivals (the Berlinale, Tribeca), music festivals (Glastonbury), art institutions, on Netflix, and at the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. Most recently, Keshari created DISINTEGRATION, a film and music installation that takes audiences through 1,460 days of headlines from the New York Times featuring Donald Trump’s presidency. Keshari brings a collaborative spirit to all her projects, previously having created work with Eric Schlosser, artist Stanley Donwood (Radiohead), electronica band The Acid, installation designers United Visual Artists, filmmakers Sanjay Rawal and Kevin Ford, and others.
This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.