five states of freedom

five states of freedom was a collaborative project by Christina Battle and Adán De La Garza, multiple video installation (2013-2016)

five states of freedom operates both as documentation of performative actions and as a critique of larger political issues. By drawing attention to our distancing of military actions from our own geographical landscape, the work increases conversations about the physical byproducts our military engagements have on domestic spaces. With a high percentage of land contaminated by military development, five states of freedom draws attention to the mainly invisible residues that still preside over the land. Fireworks have a direct tie to the history of artillery and in turn to notions of perceived American freedom. As we continually distance ourselves from directly engaging in battles at home, the celebratory acceptance of fireworks seems almost a disengagement with the physicality of war.

Shot at various active and abandoned military installations in the United States, five states of freedom consists of a series of videos actively seeking out landscapes with histories of missile-based military presence. Focusing on visualizations of the residue of the military-industrial complex upon the environment. 

five states of freedom [number 1]  – 2.40 mins, 2013
Shot at White Sands National Monument, part of the largest military installation in the United States and one of the great natural wonders of the world.  

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five states of freedom [number 2]  – 2.20 mins, 2013
Shot at White Sands National Monument, part of the largest military installation in the United States and one of the great natural wonders of the world.  

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five states of freedom [number 3] – 2.10 mins, 2014
Shot at Titan 1 Missile Silo [2b] outside of Denver, Colorado, which once contained three underground launch sites for intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying nuclear warheads. Readied for launch during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, the site was ultimately abandoned in 1965.

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five states of freedom [number 4] – 2.50 mins, 2014

Shot at Titan 1 Missile Silo [2b] outside of Denver, Colorado, which once contained three underground launch sites for intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying nuclear warheads. Readied for launch during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, the site was ultimately abandoned in 1965.

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five states of freedom [number 5] – 1.08 mins, 2014
Shot at the Rocky Flats Plant, a nuclear weapons plant 15 miles outside of Denver that manufactured balls of plutonium integral in the creation of nuclear bombs. Operating from 1952 to 1992 the plant saw a number of unreported accidents that sent radioactive particulates into the atmosphere. On several occasions, barrels of radioactive waste were found leaking into open fields. In 1957 and 1969 fires sent plumes of radioactive material over the Denver metro area. After FBI raids Rocky Flats was eventually shut down in 1989. Now a “wildlife refuge,” the site literally sits on the edge of a number of new suburban housing developments.

With notes from Under The ‘Nuclear Shadow’ Of Colorado’s Rocky Flats, NPR, June 12, 2012

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five states of freedom [number 6] – photograph, 2014
Shot at the Rocky Flats Plant, a nuclear weapons plant 15 miles outside of Denver that manufactured balls of plutonium integral in the creation of nuclear bombs. Operating from 1952 to 1992 the plant saw a number of unreported accidents that sent radioactive particulates into the atmosphere. On several occasions, barrels of radioactive waste were found leaking into open fields. In 1957 and 1969 fires sent plumes of radioactive material over the Denver metro area. After FBI raids Rocky Flats was eventually shut down in 1989. Now a “wildlife refuge,” the site literally sits on the edge of a number of new suburban housing developments.

With notes from Under The ‘Nuclear Shadow’ Of Colorado’s Rocky Flats, NPR, June 12, 2012

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five states of freedom [number 7] – photograph, 2014

Shot on a former Titan II 570-9 Missile Silo near Tucson, Arizona. The Titan II program was developed by the US military to increase the size, strength, and speed of the nation’s weapons arsenal in the 1950s and 60s. Each missile carried a single warhead stored and launched from underground silos. This particular site was active May 1st 1962 through December 2nd 1983 and is now currently a Vista De La Montaña Methodist Church. The church has painted an image based upon the Tohono O’odham icon of the Man in the Maze atop the former missile silo. The image refers to the mischievous creator god I’itoi, who resides in a cave below the peak of Baboquivari Mountain, part of the Tohono O’odham Nation. I’itoi is responsible for a series of commandments guiding people to remain in balance with the world and interact with it as intended.

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five-states-8-_webfive states of freedom [number 8] – photograph, 2014

Shot on a former Titan II 570-9 Missile Silo near Benson, Arizona. The Titan II program was developed by the US military to increase the size, strength, and speed of the nation’s weapons arsenal in the 1950s and 60s. Each missile carried a single warhead stored and launched from underground silos and were active from May 1, 1962 through December 2, 1983. Now privately owned, we were unable to enter the premises.

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five states of freedom [number 9] – 0.32, 2014

In May of 1957 a thermonuclear bomb fell out of an airplane and landed on Mesa del Sol, one mile southeast of the Albuquerque Airport. The hydrogen bomb, a Mark 17 model, was one of the largest and most powerful weapons ever made by the United States. It weighed 42,000 pounds and had a design yield of 15 to 20 megatons of TNT, 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bombs used in World War II. The bomb fell through the closed bomb bay doors of the plane, which was approaching Kirtland at an altitude of 1,700 feet. It was destroyed on impact. Though a chain reaction was impossible, as the plutonium pits were stored separately on the plane, the accident spread radioactive fuel material and parts over a wide area. The Air Force cleaned up the site in secret, though fragments of the bomb – some radioactive still – can be found in the area. It is one of more than 30 known “Broken Arrow” incidents involving the accidental loss or destruction of a nuclear weapon.* The land is now parceled into a number of private businesses including a shooting range and racetrack.

*from the Centre For Land Use Interpretation’s Land Use Database