Project Description

Isotopes in the Garden is a narrative of the Atomic Age—an era starting with the discovery of radioactivity in 1898 and continuing through today. The narrative has been curated in such a way to deploy science, literature, and pop-culture to examine and relate the history of radioactivity to a wide audience that crosses disciplines and generations. The reality is that our planet has been coated in a thin layer of radioactive dust, which will decay in our soils, plants, animals, and selves for thousands of years in the future. As a result of atmospheric nuclear testing in the 1950-60s and nuclear power plant meltdowns, each human on Earth has been exposed to increased levels of background radioactivity. Isotopes in the Garden retells this story through intensive historic research, juxtaposed with pop-culture and literary references. Each chapter of the story brings the reader through a factual timeline of events, interspersed with quotes from apocalyptic authors such as H.G. Wells and Kurt Vonnegut. Black and white photographs of nuclear testing sit in opposition to dystopian collages of 1950s Walt Disney landscapes with radioactive yellow permeating throughout. The narrative juxtapositions attempts to connect humans to their own history of progress and innovation through their daily experiences in their toxic garden, known as Earth.