Reading Weaponized Landscapes: Trinity

[2] Mary Kavanagh, quoted in a videocall with the author, August 10, 2020.

Another strata intercalates within this layered and transdisciplinary environmental history. Weaponized Landscape’s inaugural issue, Trinity, is a web-based resource that features the Trinity Test site’s visitors since 2014. Kavanagh and I have collaborated to produce an exhibition and framed archive of her work on Atomic Tourist: Trinity. Unlike a full archive, which might one day follow, that might overwhelm visitors as if they were at the site itself, our framed archive is a judiciously selected collection of her video interviews that I have couched in historical context. “You reframe things,” she has said to me, “and you carry the frame with you.”[2] Weaponized Landscapes: Trinity takes up the frame as a conceptual program to re-present photographic archives that Kavanagh has collected, transformed, and exhibited. Consisting of videos, stills, and her dual-channel work Atomic Tourist: Trinity, we yoke the political underpinnings of nuclear weapons testing with personal narratives.


Visitors can view a selection of Kavanagh’s hundreds of photographs, hundreds of archival photographs and video footage, and dozens of interviews organized into one online exhibition and archive, an easily accessible resource for a wide range of scholars and audiences interested in atomic, regional, climate, and health studies, among others. In focusing on how postwar weapons testing policies affect the southwestern United States landscape, Weaponized Landscapes is itself another discursive layer in the study of the United States’s nuclear program and of atomic tourism, memorialization, and politicization.