This video describes a proposal I made for a competition involving the production of a monument celebrating the victory of capitalism over communism in the cold war. Well, I didn't win the competition but I thought my proposed monument would be perfect for Las Vegas, the one American city that best exemplifies winner take all cowboy capitalism. I've made a lot of proposals for virtual sculptures based on photographs, many centered on photographs from the era of atomic testing. I have actually constructed a small model of a tower topped by an explosion that represents the first few nano-seconds of the atomic era. In this video I'm proposing the construction of this A-bomb tower on a vacant lot near the strip. It would tower over a symbolic chess board. The American side would feature lots of consumer items. Obsolete cold war weaponry, like chopped up B-52 bombers and Russian tanks would surround the chess board. A FEAR labeled video kiosk would feature Mikhail Gorbachev. A GREED labeled video kiosk would feature Ronald Reagan.
Oddly, Las Vegas did it's share in the cold war. Atomic weapons were tested The Nevada testing ground. Casinos would have bomb watching cocktail parties when the bombs were set off. Houses were constructed in the test area and filled with mannequins. The slow motion films that recorded the destruction of these dwellings were widely distributed and helped people realize that atomic warfare was an unacceptable act of public policy.
The monument I'm proposing for Las Vegas is not about art so much as its about the hard reality of the Cold War and how its promise of Mutually Assured Destruction forced a peace on the world that doomed communism. Las Vegas, more than perhaps any other American city, symbolizes the consumerist excess that eventually wore down a system based of fear.