By Duncan Geere
06 July 2010
Over the course of fourteen and a half minutes, every single one of the 2053 nuclear tests and explosions that took place between 1945 and 1998 are is plotted on a map.
A metronomic beep every second represents months passing, and a different tone indicates explosions from different countries. It starts out slowly, with the Manhattan Project’s single test in the US and the two terrible bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended World War II.
After a couple of minutes or so, however, once the USSR and Britain entered the nuclear club, the tests really start to build up, reaching a peak of nearly 140 in 1962, and remaining well over 40 each year until the mid-80s.
It’s a compelling insight into the history of humanity’s greatest destructive force, especially when you remember that only two nuclear explosions have ever been detonated offensively, both in 1945. Since then, despite more than 2,000 other tests and billions of dollars having been spent on their development, no nuclear warheads have been used in anger.
Born in Japan in 1959, Hashimoto worked in the financial industry for 17 years before studying in Tokyo in the department of Arts, Policy and Management, and then getting a job as a curator at the Lalique museum in Hakone, Japan.
He began the piece in 2003, with the aim of showing, in his own words, “the fear and folly of nuclear weapons”. Hashimoto says: ” 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.”
As the timescale on the animation only reaches 1998, it doesn’t include North Korea’s two nuclear tests in October 2006 and May 2009.
Here’s the video:
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