Taryn Simon, ‘Exploding Warhead, Test Area C-80C, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida’, 2007, Gagosian

Taryn Simon
Exploding Warhead, Test Area C-80C, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida

This is a text of an MK-84 IM (Insensitive Munition) Warhead conducted at the Eglin Air Force Base Air Armament Center. The warhead was tested by the 46th Test Wing's 780th Test Squadron in order to collect pressure and fragment velocity data on a new, experimental explosive warhead fill.

Eglin AFB was formerly part of the Choctawhatchee National Forest. All 384,000 acres of the forest were transferred to the War Department during World War II for the fast expansion of the Army Air Corps. The Eglin base has access to 86,000 square miles of airspace, allowing for long-range, all-altitude, air-to-air, air-to-surface, surface-to-surface, and anti-ship evaluation tests and training exercises.

The Air Armament Center is responsible for the development, testing and deployment of all U.S. air-delivered weapons. It tripled its production of Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs reported in 2006 that the air strike munitions which killed the Iraq-based al Qaeda leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, were developed at the Eglin Air Armament Center.

This photograph was taken using a remote sequencer that detonated the warhead from a control bunker.

Image rights: © Taryn Simon. Courtesy Gagosian.

About Taryn Simon

Conceptual artist Taryn Simon’s photographs and accompanied writing are the result of a long process of research and investigation. For her 2011 work A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters, produced over a four-year period, Simon traveled around the world collecting stories and images that mapped the relationships among chance, blood, and other components of fate. Her work Contraband (2010) presented 1,075 images of items that were detained or seized from passengers and mail entering the United States from abroad. An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007), revealed objects, sites, and spaces that are integral to America's foundation or daily functioning but remain inaccessible or unknown to the public audience, including a nuclear waste storage facility, a braille edition of Playboy, and the art collection of the CIA. Equally concerned with formalism and realism, Simon seeks seductive images of inaccessible and unrecognized, but symbolic, subjects, and maintains a diverse practice that extends to film, sculpture, and performance.

American, b. 1975, New York, New York, based in New York, New York