Thermonuclear Garden #1, B.C. Space, Laguna Beach, California, 1982
During the early 1980s, I began to research the growth and extent of the military-industrial complex because I was ignorant about the subject and thus was hoping to assuage my increasing unease. However, the more I learned, the more paranoid I became. Because I found it so difficult to actually get information on this subject, I decided to make information artworks to concretize this usually opaque subject. I made my first “Thermonuclear Garden” in 1982, at BC Space in Laguna Beach, California, and ten after that, the last in 1991.
Each installation was site specific with at least part of the text devoted to a subject that referenced that city. Including local information was sometimes very empowering. For instance, I included a list of the top military contractors in the City of Santa Monica in the installation at the USC Atalier Gallery in Santa Monica. The head of the planning commission saw the list in the gallery and decided that she didn’t support the growth of the military-industrial activity in Santa Monica. The rest of the board agreed and thus the building permit was denied.