2020, Es Devlin and Machiko Weston
           Imperial War Museum, London (UK)
video: 9:55 min

"Devlin and Weston have shared a studio for over 12 years, often exploring fictional apocalypses in drama and opera. This is their first investigation of the impact of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings on their respective cultures.

Locked down in separate studios, they carried out their research in separate languages.

Half of the text, read by Devlin in English, traces the origination of the atomic bomb in fiction by HG Wells, the account of the translation directly from fiction to physics by Leo Szilard, and the aspiration, rationale and rehearsal by the leading protagonists of the Manhattan project. This half of the text spans over 75 years.

The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything except our modes of thinking. Thus, we are drifting toward catastrophe beyond conception.
We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.

Albert Einstein, May 1946

The other half of the text is read in Japanese by Weston with simultaneous translation into English. The Japanese texts are all accounts of the two moments in time - the moments the atomic bombs landed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

And after seeing the flash,
I had a sensation of floating in the air.
All the buildings were flattened by the blast and falling. And, obviously, the building I was in was falling,
and my body was falling together with it.
That’s the end of my recollection.

   Setsuko Thurlow - Hiroshima survivor.


The screen-splitting line becomes the essence of the work, expressing the potential for division - splitting the screen, splitting the atom, the division between fiction and fact, race divisions, the division between humans and the planet."
(From the Imperial War Museum website)