The Bunker Project (2001)

The Bunker Project

Overview

A site specific installation for a decommissioned government nuclear bunker in Essex, UK. created in parallel with a live work for the location by choreographer Suzanne Thomas (Seven Sisters Group).

Further Details

The bunker, a cold dank unwelcoming space hidden away from the outside world, is located 50 feet below a large woodland area in Essex, which at the time of the project was covered with a large carpet of bluebell flowers. During the research I came across a piece of text by the American nuclear physicist, Albert Reynolds and was struck by his likening of a nuclear reaction to his childhood memories of bluebell fields in Tennessee.

Each day during the exhibition bluebells were collected from the wood and taken down to be juxtaposed against the muted staleness that permeated throughout the ex MOD bunker. Reynolds’ text was projected onto the side of the bunker’s huge air filtration units.

Bluebells are my favourite wildflower. In Tennessee there is a small river in the valley where I grew up. In this river is Bluebell Island, a small island that is so absolutely covered with wild bluebells that, in April, the island is a fairyland of blue.
In the summer of 1953, after my senior year in college, I experienced another blue colour that I will never forget. This was the first time I ever saw a nuclear reactor. The reactor I visited shone with a wonderful bright blue glow. The blue was quite like the colour of bluebells, pure, deep like the deepest blue in a perfectly clear sky.

Albert Reynolds, nuclear physicist. 1996

Presentations

Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker, Essex.

Credits

An Essex Dance Agency commission funded through Arts Council Year of the Artist.