Critical Mass: Meridel Rubenstein and Ellen Zweig with Technical Assistance by the Vasulkas

Meridel Rubenstein, Fatman with Edith, 1993

About the Exhibition

Critical Mass brings together photography, video, and text to examine the forces of community and history that led to the making of the atomic bomb.  The exhibition represents to work of a six-year multimedia collaboration between photographer Meridel Rubenstein and installation artist Ellen Zweig.  Technical support has been provided by Steina and Woody Vasulka, video artists who have been instrumental in developing new electronic imaging systems.  Together these artists have produced a contemporary response to the unique twentieth century constellation of place, people, cultures, and technologies that intersected at Los Alamos in Northern New Mexico during the creation of the first atomic bomb in the 1940s.  Los Alamos adjoined the San Ildefonso Pueblo, and the exhibition’s combined photographs, video, and narration evoke the encounter between Western science and Native American attitudes toward the physical world.  Connecting the birthplace of the atomic bomb to its philosophical and social context with large-scale mixed media installations, Critical Mass combines the tangible nature of landscape with the intangible nature of physics.