Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Every nuclear explosion from 1945 to 1998



I find this visualisation (by Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto) of every nuclear explosion from 1945 to 1998 compelling for so many reasons.

There's the strange video-game aesthetic to the whole thing, and not just any video-game aesthetic, but a particularly 1980s-arcade feel - the midi-like beeps and tones, the slightly jerky/stepped "zooming" effect, the crosshairs that extend to the edge of the screen (think Blade Runner, the scene where Deckard is analysing the photograph), the "score" tally at the top of the screen. It's Wargames - except every nuclear explosion here is real.

We spent the Cold War years worrying and wondering and fearing what a nuclear war might look like, but we nuked our planet over 2000 times in the 45 years represented in this video.

Once every 10 days, on average.