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Christopher Warren - "Plowshares: Altered Colorado"

Hello my name is Christopher Warren. I'm a Colorado-based artist and you are looking at my piece titled "Plowshares". On May 17th 1973 the United States government detinated three nuclear devices underground, more than a mile underground, in Rio Blanco County Colorado. The express goal of this particular nuclear test was to try to frack shale deposits deep underground to see if that would loosen up the natural gas in that area. This was before the advent of fracking as we know it now. This test in 1973 was done as part of a larger government project run by the United States atomic energy commission called Project Plowshares. Project Plowshares was an attempt to find non wartime uses for nuclear warheads. There were a handful of tests that were actually completed by project plowshares, two in Colorado one in New Mexico that were all involving resource extraction, but the list of potential projects for Project Plowshares was very extensive including detonating multiple nuclear devices to create artificial harbors in Alaska and also to create mountain passes for roads and railroads in the Appalachian mountains, a long list of very interesting list to say the least.

This particular piece does display the topography around the project Rio Blanco site. I have taken the real topography and edited into it these three shock waves that you can see in the linear lines radiating from the lower left side of the piece. The center of the circle is the actual site for project Rio Blanco, so they drilled the hole, dropped the nuclear devices down past past a mile underground and then detonated them all simultaneously. This is part of a larger project that I as an artist am trying to complete that explores Colorado history through these edited topography art pieces. I'm born and raised in Colorado, it's my home state I love it very much, and there are some really interesting parts of the history of this state that I've never heard about, and most people haven't heard about, until much later in life. I'm using these edited topographic maps to try to tie these historical events to the physical place because I feel that physicality, and the geology and geography, very shape how human events happened. By also overlaying these edited aspects to show kind of the symbolic trauma, damage, or kind of the psychological feeling that some of these historic events bring to mind when you hear about them initially, and with some of them the shock of just learning that these things happened, you know, in your backyard or in a community you've been to.

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