Photographed by the Earth: War and media in light of nuclear events | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
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This article charts a media historical relation between radiation and celluloid film, ranging from the downwind 1956 production of to early scientific imaging practices, war photography, war documentaries, military industrial film, and contemporary artists working on radiation aesthetics. Posing the collection as a diagnostic media ecology, this article argues that the valuable evidence provided by the environmental metadata stored in celluloid film is the product of ecological warfare and violence. By turning to the material sciences for a better understanding of how nuclear weapons affect media on large spatial and temporal scales we gain a parallax view to how photographic practices – defined as the aesthetic exchange of light and energy – occur autonomously within our ecology, although some of these forces are mobilised in deadly and imperceptible ways. By demonstrating that non-human agencies released by Cold War energy policies have contaminated military industrial and commercial film archives alike, this article asserts that nuclear testing and warfare have contributed to a global condition of test-subjectivity that can be evidenced by diagnostic media ecology.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): environmental media; material politics; media ecology; nuclear testing; toxicity
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