I have no idea how Hercules cleaned out the Stygian stables in a day — I’ve been trying to dig out of my studio all morning and I can see this is not a one day job. I just totally passed out. (At which point the kitten leaped on me — though whether to help or eat my face is not entirely clear.)
So what are we looking at? Well, that black blob in the middle perched on an easel is a feathery fake stuffed raven (there’s an owl on the other easel). There’s a lot of packing supplies (bubble wrap, foam peanuts, big cardboard boxes) and some silkscreen prints on the wall by Michael Wertz. Usually on the wall is a big black and white photo of the “Baker” Explosion, a nuclear test at Bikini Atoll but I took it down to fix the frame.
The radioactive water released by the explosion contaminated nearby ships, some of which ended up out here in Hunter’s Point to be “decontaminated.” (Others were sunk off the coast of San Francisco. Remind me not to eat the local fish.)
Other kinds of fallout:
The island is also famous because just days after the blast the tiny two piece bathing suit was introduced to the world, hence the name “bikini.”
All 23 members of the Japanese fishing boat the Lucky Dragon were contaminated. The following scandal inspired the film “Godzilla” (in which the monster is woken by U.S. nuclear testing).
Bikinians were moved to another island and are still getting compensation money. Whatever it is, it’s not enough.
My grandad, Nicholas Samaras, worked on the bomb with Oppie. I think he was pretty conflicted about what ended up happening with a lot of his research. His office was full of amazing photos and certificates that totally fascinated me as a child, some of which are now in my “office.” (Wikipedia seems to have the exact same photo but there’s no credit to the photographer and no signature on my copy, just “U.S. Official photo of Bikini Atoll test” written on the back.)
Meanwhile, I’ve already found a couple checks I was looking for, so that was pretty exciting. If I find anything interesting as I shovel this place out, I’ll post some snaps.