Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Blast Site is a sculpture, an artist book, and a workshop created by Gabie Strong and Danielle McCullough, 2011.

Sculpture
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures, 2011. 

Cyanotype printed fabric, pallets, silver, clay, pigment, leather, wood, plants, dirt. Dimensions vary. Photographs by Gabie Strong. Presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011.

Blast Site is an imagined remnant of mythic global disaster, in which the cyanotype is used to document traces of history and cinematic projection is used to create ritual magic. 

Our sculpture calls upon the process of tracing light and time in both photographic and sculptural form. Blast Site is a multi-paneled structure marking survival in the high desert, invoking both the ancient and the new. During the day it serves as a sculptural monument, invoking the mystery of the analog pressed against modernist hard-edged geometry, to create a post-apocalyptic survival site reminiscent of dated science fiction literature. At night it serves as a 16mm projection surface for dancing phosphenes, summoning the Paleolithic reasoning of a prehistoric animal praxis.

Working as traces of footprints embedded into pavement like shadows after an atomic blast, the process of cyanotype sun printing draws apparitions of time to render a new image, a silhouette of white in a sea of bright blue. The geometry of our sculpture allows for hard-edged shadows of multiple angles to fall across the desert plane, casting a virtual non-site underfoot, while the printed fabric promotes poetic imagery of the banal, industrial, and floral. 

At dusk the material emphasis of the sculpture fades, and the silhouette of the hexagonal shapes take form. These shapes become projection surfaces for Gabie Strong's pen and ink drawings on 16mm film. Strong’s films are loosely animated stretches of gestural abstraction, ethereal washes of bright color shimmering in the night, lines of color moving and changing shape with each second of time. Strong’s film-drawings flicker against the skins of rigid primary geometries, giving life to Blast Site as an animated color-field surface in the darkness of night.

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Gabie Strong & Danielle McCullough, 2011. Sculpture presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011. Photographs by Gabie Strong.

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Gabie Strong & Danielle McCullough, 2011. Sculpture presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011. Photographs by Gabie Strong.

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Gabie Strong & Danielle McCullough, 2011. Sculpture presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011. Photographs by Gabie Strong.

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Gabie Strong & Danielle McCullough, 2011. Sculpture presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011. Photographs by Gabie Strong.

 

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Blast Site concept diagram created by Gabie Strong. Concept by Gabie Strong and Danielle McCullough, 2011.

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Gabie Strong & Danielle McCullough, 2011

At dusk the material emphasis of the sculpture fades, and the silhouette of the hexagonal shapes take form. These shapes become projection surfaces for Gabie Strong's pen and ink drawings on 16mm film. Strong’s films are loosely animated stretches of gestural abstraction, ethereal washes of bright color shimmering in the night, lines of color moving and changing shape with each second of time. Strong’s film-drawings flicker against the skins of rigid primary geometries, giving life to Blast Site as an animated color-field surface in the darkness of night.

Sculpture presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011. Photographs by Gabie Strong.

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Gabie Strong & Danielle McCullough, 2011. Sculpture presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011. Photographs by Gabie Strong.

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Gabie Strong & Danielle McCullough, 2011. Sculpture presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011. Photographs by Gabie Strong.

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Gabie Strong & Danielle McCullough, 2011. Sculpture presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011. Photographs by Gabie Strong.

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Gabie Strong & Danielle McCullough, 2011. Sculpture presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011. Photographs by Gabie Strong.

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Gabie Strong & Danielle McCullough, 2011. Sculpture presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011. Photographs by Gabie Strong.

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Gabie Strong & Danielle McCullough, 2011. Sculpture presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011. Photographs by Gabie Strong.

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Gabie Strong & Danielle McCullough, 2011. Sculpture presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011. Photographs by Gabie Strong.

 

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Gabie Strong & Danielle McCullough, 2011. Sculpture presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011. Photographs by Gabie Strong.

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Gabie Strong & Danielle McCullough, 2011. Sculpture presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011. Photographs by Gabie Strong.

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Gabie Strong & Danielle McCullough, 2011. Sculpture presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011. Photographs by Gabie Strong.

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Gabie Strong & Danielle McCullough, 2011. Sculpture presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011. Photographs by Gabie Strong.

Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures
Blast Site: A Monument For Future Failures

Gabie Strong & Danielle McCullough, 2011. Sculpture presented at the exhibition Shangrila: New Moon, Joshua Tree. June 4, 2011. Photographs by Gabie Strong.

Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures
Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures

Artist Book
Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures, 2011

Danielle and Gabie designed and printed an exclusive, hand-made limited-edition artist book and CD soundtrack for workshop attendees. Titled Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures, this book presents high desert field research including essays by the artists on the military-industrial complex, indigenous mythology of the region, survival cooking recipes, maps and ephemera, an essay by Anthony Leslie, and poetry by Jared Stanley.

Copyright Gabie Strong and Danielle McCullough, 2011.

Cover designed by Gabie Strong.

Available for purchase at Ooga Booga! 

Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures
Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures

Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures, 2011. Copyright Gabie Strong and Danielle McCullough, 2011. Cover designed by Gabie Strong.

Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures
Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures

Cyanotype cover designed by Gabie Strong. Letterpress set by Hope Press, UCLA.

Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures
Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures

Cyanotype cover designed by Gabie Strong. Letterpress set by Hope Press, UCLA.

Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures
Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures

Cyanotype cover designed by Gabie Strong. Letterpress set by Hope Press, UCLA.

Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures
Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures

Cyanotype cover designed by Gabie Strong. Letterpress set by Hope Press, UCLA.

Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures
Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures

Cyanotype cover designed by Gabie Strong. Letterpress set by Hope Press, UCLA.

Blast Site: A Workshop for Conjecture
Blast Site: A Workshop for Conjecture

Workshop
Blast site: A Workshop for Conjecture, HDTS New Everyday Living, Joshua Tree. November 12, 2011.

For the High Desert Test Sites “New Everyday Living” workshop Blast Site: A Workshop for Conjecture, artists Gabie Strong and Danielle McCullough created a special near-futures narrative based event. 

Based on the narrative of their collaborative sculpture Blast Site: A Monument to Future Failures, the HDTS New Everyday Living workshop explored survival in the high desert through the lens of the future-past. The workshop included a post-apocalyptic narrative hike through Blast Site — through the urban, rural and mythic areas of the high desert – followed by a cyanotype process printing demonstration using sunlight and detritus. Together the artists led a sun-print cyanotype process workshop using 19th century photographic techniques and contemporary materials gathered from the desert floor to produce images of white on a sea of bright blue. Workshop attendees learned how to create beautiful, blue-print like photographs to commemorate their travels through Blast Site. The workshop demonstration was followed by a barbecued vegetarian lunch and demonstration including native vegetation.

BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE
BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE

The group collected objects from downtown JT and placed them on cyanotype paper to create heliotropic photograms.

BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE
BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE

Objects for conjecture about future/past.

BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE
BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE

The group admires the work... in the rain!

BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE
BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE

Workshop attendees printing in the "sunny" desert.

BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE
BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE

Finally the sun comes out... after the rain!

BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE
BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE

Washing the prints!

BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE
BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE

The prints were cloudy but still so mysteriously an example of failures of the future/past!

BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE
BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE

Hand made tortillas and hen of the woods mushrooms cooked by heated rocks.

BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE
BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE

Hand made tortillas and hen of the woods mushrooms cooked by heated rocks.

BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE
BLAST SITE: A WORKSHOP FOR CONJECTURE

Enjoying the fruits of our labor!