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CALL/WALKS/SantaFe - Atomic Stories: Media and the Nuclear History of New Mexico

  • The Santa Fe Art Institute 1600 St Michaels Dr Santa Fe, NM, 87505 United States (map)

Led by artist Andrea Polli & scientist Luis Campos, Atomic Stories will focus on the unique ecology and histories of Santa Fe and other parts of Northern New Mexico as they relate to geological-scale transformations that have impacted environmental and human health globally.

This WALK will look at unique crossovers between the nuclear history of the region and how its continuing impacts have been represented in popular and traditional cultures and the arts, and will invite participants to imagine new ways to represent this complex history and possible futures. The WALK will emphasize the symbiotic relationship between our bodies and the environments and ecologies that surround us including water, soil, wildlife and particulates, and will end at the SFAI with a special culinary experience created out of locally sourced ingredients by Youthworks, a local nonprofit geared toward educational and employment opportunities for at-risk youth . Tina Cordova, Co-Founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (TBDC) and Youthworks, also will present excerpts from Peter Cusack's Sounds from Dangerous Places.

This walk is sponsored by the Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI) in partnership with UNM and Biocultura Santa Fe. The property adjacent to SFAI holds structures dedicated to arts and cultural education that are vacant and urgently searching for a new role appropriate to the first quarter of the 21st century. An active commercial film theater and film studios on site extend the reach of the creative community into broad popular culture, and the site even contains a portion of the set of the television series ‘Manhattan’ that portrayed the rise of Los Alamos in the creation of the atomic bomb. Although urban, the site is home to a wide variety of local wildlife, and part of the Santa Fe river watershed provides approximately 40% of Santa Fe's water supply and is a tributary of the Rio Grande that connects the city to Los Alamos to the north and Albuquerque to the south.

This walk is being conducted in partnership with the SFAI, University of New Mexico, Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, and Youthworks

andrea_polli - Andrea Polli.jpg

Andrea Polli is an environmental artist who has created and presented public artworks at 25 locations including a wind-powered light work covering the Rachel Carson bridge in Pittsburgh, a permanent light work for the University of Utah and building-scale works presented in the cities of San Jose California, Charlotte North Carolina, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Paris, and in Germany and Croatia. She co-edited the book Far Field: Digital Culture, Climate Change and the Poles (Intellect Press, 2011) and authored Hack the Grid (Carnegie Museum of Art, 2017). Andrea is the Mesa Del Sol Endowed Chair of Digital Media at the University of New Mexico College of Fine Arts. 


Luis Campos is a Senior Fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico. Trained in both biology and in the history of science, he is the author of Radium and the Secret of Life (University of Chicago Press, 2015), and co-editor of Making Mutations: Objects, Practices, Contexts (Berlin, MPIWG, 2010).