Incendiary Iconography Exhibition

September 30, 2013 - October 31, 2013
Weitman Gallery

Incendiary Iconography: Photographs of the Former Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant and Related Waste Disposal Sites features documentary photographs and writing produced by A.W. Thompson, MFA93, during the demolition of the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant outside Denver, Colorado. In addition to the plant, site, and people at Rocky Flats, Thompson wanted to document the places where the tons of nuclear material had been made, and where the nuclear and industrial wastes produced were being buried. Many of the industrial workers he met felt a strong sense of pride for having helped the United States win the Cold War. Others dissociated the work they did building nuclear weapons from the daily routines of a high-paying factory job. This tension—between highly secret and often personally dangerous work, and the utter utilitarian and regimented nature of the environment, between the unreal and the hyper-real—is what he hoped to capture in these photographs and stories.

Thompson is currently a professor and director of the School of Communications at Grand Valley State University. His interests include photographic theory and discourse, the intersection of art and science as ways of knowing, and creative photography that mixes traditional and digital processes.