CHAMPAIGN — The exhibition "Towards a National Cold War Monuments and Environmental Heritage Trail" will open with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at Figure One, the downtown Champaign project space of the University of Illinois School of Art + Design.
The exhibition will remain on view through Nov. 27 at Figure One, 116 N. Walnut St., C.
The National Toxic Land/Labor Conservation Service is an imaginary federal agency dedicated to exposing and discussing the domestic effects of the American nuclear state.
The service's primary goal is the creation of a speculative National Cold War Monuments and Environmental Heritage Trail to reflect suppressed knowledge about the Cold War.
Operating in the tradition of Augusto Boal's Forum Theater and Legislative Theater, the Toxic Land/Labor Conservation Service aims to develop experimental ways of memorializing that do not maintain the Cold War as a remote history but instead to discover ways to care for lands, attend to labor histories, and map the linkages between people, environments and exposure to toxic materials.
More than 20 years after its ostensible "end," there is a renewed public interest in the Cold War era, which is now a subject of memorials, museums and tourist sites. The tourist trade dilutes the toxicity and negativity of the U.S. Cold War military buildup into easily consumed commodities, according to a news release.
The visiting artists involved in the exhibition and related events:
— Sarah Kanouse, an interdisciplinary artist who explores the politics of landscape and public discourse. She is an assistant professor of art in the Intermedia Program at the University of Iowa. She teaches courses in video/time-based media.
— Shiloh Krupar, a cultural geographer and an assistant professor of culture and politics in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.