Two-Day Collaboration between the Visual Cultures of Work research group in the Department of Visual Arts and the Science Studies Program, University of California, San Diego on the visual, ecological, and political legacy of the Cold War


Joseph Masco
Professor of Anthropology and the Social Sciences, University of Chicago
Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 5 PM
Pepper Canyon 109, University of California, San Diego

Joseph Masco works at the intersection of science and technology studies, security studies, and American Studies, with specific interests in post-1945 U.S. national security sciences and culture, political ecology and environmental crisis, mass media and affect, and critical theory. In this lecture, Masco examines the scientific photography of the U.S. nuclear program. Focusing on the elaborate archive of photographic experiments and filmic short subjects made during the Cold War, he considers how the “nuclear” has been constituted on film, and the implications of the historical nuclear archive for public memory in the United States.

Masco is the author of Nuclear Borderlands: The Manhattan Project in Post-Cold War New Mexico (2006)—the first anthropological study of the long-term consequences of the Manhattan Project for the people that live in and around Los Alamos, New Mexico and winner of the 2008 Rachel Carson Prize from the Society for Social Studies of Science and the 2006 Robert K. Merton Prize from the American Sociological Association. He is also the author of The Theater of Operations: National Security Affect from the Cold War to the War on Terror (2014), in which he locates the origins of the present-day U.S. counterterrorism apparatus in the Cold War's "balance of terror,” demonstrating how—after the attacks of 9/11—the U.S. global War on Terror mobilized a wide range of affective, conceptual, and institutional resources established during the Cold War to enable a new planetary theater of operations.


CONTAINMENT A film by Peter Galison and Robb Moss
Friday, February 10, 2017 at 2PM
MCC Room 201, University of California, San Diego

Can we contain some of the deadliest, most long-lasting substances ever produced? Left over from the Cold War are a hundred million gallons of radioactive sludge, covering vast radioactive lands. Governments around the world, desperate to protect future generations, have begun imagining society 10,000 years from now in order to create monuments that will speak across the time. Part observational essay filmed in weapons plants, Fukushima and deep underground—and part graphic novel—Containment weaves between an uneasy present and an imaginative, troubled far future, exploring the idea that over millennia, nothing stays put.

About the filmmakers
Peter Galison is a Pellegrino University Professor of the History of Science and of Physics at Harvard University. Galison’s previous film on the moral-political debates over the H-bomb, Ultimate Weapon: The H-bomb Dilemma (with Pamela Hogan, 2002) has been shown frequently on the History Channel and is widely used in academic courses. In 1997, he was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship; won a 1998 Pfizer Award for Image and Logic as the best book that year in the History of Science; and in 1999 received the Max Planck and Humboldt Stiftung Prize. His books include How Experiments End (1987), Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps (2003), and Objectivity (with L. Daston, 2007) and he has worked extensively with de-classified material in his studies of physics in the Cold War. Galison’s work also features artistic collaborations, including partnering with South African artist William Kentridge on a multi-screen installation, “The Refusal of Time.”

Robb Moss is a filmmaker, professor and chair of the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. Moss’s The Same River Twice (2003) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was nominated for a 2004 Independent Spirit Award and opened theatrically at Film Forum in New York City. Winning prizes in Nashville, Chicago, New England, and Alabama, TSRT was selected by the Chicago Reader as Best Documentary (and Best Cinematography) of 2003. His autobiographical and essay films have screened at the Museum of Modern Art, the Telluride Film Festival and IDFA. He has served as a festival juror at Sundance, San Francisco, Denver, Full Frame, Camden, Seattle, Chicago, New England, and Ann Arbor, is on the Board of Directors for ITVS, and works as a creative advisor at the Sundance Documentary labs.

For more information about the film: http://containmentmovie.com/