The Kydoimos video is comprised of more than 50,000 individual frames of aerial photographs that David Maisel made at the classified military installation of Dugway Proving Ground, a remote site in Utah’s Great Salt Lake desert devoted to testing and development of chemical and biological weapons and defense systems. The flickering images in Kydoimos depict test grids inscribed into the desert floor where toxic substances are detonated by the military. The landscape becomes a measuring device against which dispersal rates, toxicity levels, and threats to the human body are measured. Maisel augments the dizzying visuals with an immersive soundscape created in collaboration with composer Chris Kallmyer; together, they reflect and refract the dark forces at work at this site.
single channel 1:1 projection with audio, 31:23 minutes
Jack Rabbit II Phase II 2015-2016: A Field Experiment on Dense Gas Dispersion in a Built Environment: Findings and Observations
The Jack Rabbit II Phase II video is comprised primarily of drone and ground footage made for the military, showing open air detonation of toxic materials performed at Dugway Proving Ground in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security. These tests, collectively called the Jack Rabbit Project, began in 2010 and were conducted to determine the nation’s vulnerability to “Toxic Inhalation Hazard” materials being weaponized near urban areas. Both chlorine and anhydrous ammonia were detonated as part of these tests.
In 2015, the tests continued, using only chlorine. Dubbed Jack Rabbit II Phase II, multiple releases of ten tons of chlorine at a time were detonated into a facsimile of an urban setting, simulating a worst-case scenario. Nearly a hundred tons of chlorine were released into the atmosphere during Jack Rabbit II. Interlaced with drone and ground footage of the chlorine detonations are visual and audio excerpts from a presentation given by a meteorological scientist. He compares the Jack Rabbit II tests to a scene from Mad Max, and surmises that “I’m not sure how accurate this all is gonna be…How can you measure this?,” referring to the toxicity of the detonations.
The design of the Jack Rabbit tests seemingly fail to address the capacity for these detonated toxins to drift into the airspace of civilian communities, exposing those whom these tests are intended to protect. The simulated catastrophe is both a harbinger of future possibility and an introduction to it.
single channel 1:1 projection with audio, 7:55 minutes
(drone footage by Andy Byrnes, Utah Valley University)