The Colossus, Declassified
Digital Painting/photo collage
Based on a photo from the “Hanford Historical Photo Declassification Project”.
Read the introduction to the Remixing the Hanford Declassified Project paintings
The Colossus was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, a gigantic statue brandishing a torch of the harbor at Rhodes. Its dedicatory inscription is said to have read, “To you, O Sun, the people of Dorian Rhodes set up this bronze statue reaching to Olympus when they had pacified the waves of war and crowned their city with the spoils taken from the enemy. Not only over the seas but also on land did they kindle the lovely torch of freedom.”
The Statue of Liberty is modeled on the idea of the Colossus.
Miss Flame, of Fire Prevention Week, 1950, in the Hanford Declassification Project archive, is revealed in several incarnations. Two earlier entries of mine show her as a masked woman in a flamboyantand glamorous gown.
Then there are these images of her in a dark dress, her face draped with a mysterious veil; images not taken in her public role but seemingly in a private shoot. One wonders at the purpose, and I am briefly reminded of the veiled woman upon the “Shape of Things to Come” Camp Hanford Float, but the float was from 1956 and would have nothing to do with Miss Flame of 1950.
As I reflected on the images, Miss Flame in her veiled form transformed into the torch-bearing Colossus or Rhodes, an association cemented by the photo of her looming large over the photographer with a lamp in the background, her identity completely cloaked. Aloof from human concerns, she became headless, a representation of the falsehood that victory is a fulfillment of heaven-directed destiny, when instead the power of possession is blind and belongs simply to those who win what becomes the final round.
Miss Flame as Madame Death
DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number
Accession Number N1D0054382
Document Number 1378-50-NEG-I
Alternate Document Number 1378-50-NEG
Title Description FIRE PREVENTION “MISS FLAME”
Number of Pages 1
Key Word(s) FIRE SAFETY,HANFORD SITE,MISS FLAME
Document Date 05-Feb-2002
Public Availability Date 14-Jun-2002
I don’t know of these were pictures of the woman in a veil were just taken for the fancy of the photographer (perhaps inspired by Magritte?) or if the veil was used in another theatrical presentation or was a part of the woman’s costume. But it occurs to me that with her cigarette she is likely intended to represent Death, not due any dangers to health, but the ever present threat of the spark.
She lights her cigarette.
Continue reading The Colossus of Hanford (declassified)