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A Map of Nuclear Explosions Since 1945

I came across a very impressive video created by the Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto, which has gained a special importance through the reactor accident in Fukushima, Japan.

Hashimoto has done a time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project’s “Trinity” test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan’s nuclear tests in May of 1998. This leaves out North Korea’s two alleged nuclear tests in this past decade (the legitimacy of both of which is not 100% clear).

The film is based mainly on the data of “Nuclear Explosions 1945 – 1998″ co-published by the Swedish Defence Reserach Establishment (FOI) and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in 2000.

Each nation gets a blip and a flashing dot on the map whenever they detonate a nuclear weapon, with a running tally kept on the top and bottom bars of the screen. Hashimoto began the project in 2003; he created it with the goal of showing”the fear and folly of nuclear weapons.” It starts really slow — if you want to see real action, skip ahead to 1962 or so — but the buildup becomes overwhelming.

Hashimoto says about his map:

“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.”

And this problem increases with the nuclear reactor accidents…

Hashimoto is currently working for Lalique Museum, Hakone, Japan as a curator.

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