By: Center for Land Use Interpretation, researched and written by Matthew Coolidge
Printed by: Center For Land Use Interpretation, Culver City, CA, 1996
Pages: 60 with a fold out map
Dimensions: 11 in X 8.5 in
Binding: Perfect bound
Color: Color cover with black insides
Edition Size: unknown
The only book available that describes the nation's foremost weapons and R&D field test facility. Praised by both anti-nuclear activists and Department of Energy officials!
Special review of the book by Regional Relationships for HLP:
It shouldn't be surprising that we (Regional Relationships) are fond of the Center for Land Use Interpretation. Since first reading about the CLUI's work in Lucy Lippard's examination of critical tourism and art, Off the Beaten Track, we have followed their consistent, but never predictable, interventions across the United States. One of the first projects of the CLUI we encountered was their publication on the Nevada nuclear test site. Making pilgrimages to sites related to the Cold War arms race and atomic weapons infrastructure has become a tourist subculture. "Atomic tourists" (already anticipated by the site's nearby towns in the 1950s) represent a subset of specialized travelers that includes urban explorers and disaster tourists, and a location like the Nevada Test Site would certainly be on their itinerary. It is also a celebrated by the larger populations of military and history buffs as a lynchpin in the myth of American Exceptionalismwhere technological innovation reached its zenith in a landscape identified with Manifest Destiny and complete settlement.
While the Department of Defense published a history of the site in 2000, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, which is an invaluable historical document, it leaves much ground uncovered, literally. The CLUI's The Nevada Test Site: A Guide to America's Nuclear Proving Ground, first published by the Center in 1996, delves into the material reality and history of the site. The publication is an early iteration of the methods developed by CLUI for representing their research: historical documents presented alongside their own photographic documentation and narrative context. The Nevada Test Site is a valuable primary document in the history of research-based aesthetic practice as well as a compelling examination of its subject.