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“This Video Has Been Sanitized” | Andy Blubaugh

The first completed Homework entry from the assignment “The Last Voice You Ever Hear” is in, from multidisciplinary artist Nan D’Agostino.  Her piece, called “This Video Has Been Sanitized,” is a deeply personal response to the subject, from someone with a personal memory of the hysteria and irrationality of the atomic era.

According to D’Agostino, “‘This Video has been Sanitized’ is a collage of some of the propaganda, news reel images, TV specials and family memories that were swirling around in my mind during my Cold War childhood. Within the two minute clip is material from twelve distinct sources, all produced in the 1940s or ’50s.  Both American and Japanese nuclear propaganda aimed at children used animation in combination with live action footage and it was interesting to see the different tone the film makers took. Putting this together, I realized it was the tension between the cheerfully conventional animation and the live action footage that undermined my feelings of trust in the grownups in charge of me, even as a very very small child. The live action footage in Duck and Cover was shot just an hour or two’s drive from where I grew up, and the boy with the bicycle looks very much like my older brother. 

Thinking about trust, the voice and truth telling, these images and this voice came vividly back to mind. Even as a small girl I realized we could never be safe hiding under our desks or covering our heads with a jacket, although we practiced these moves in every part of our school building and playground. Certain parts of the film were particularly frightening; the idea that we might hear a warning but also might  not hear a warning, left me in a constant state of wariness. There was a siren at the firehouse in our town that sounded every day at noon and I always wondered whether it was really “just a test” as my Mom explained, or was actually, today, the real thing.  Say “CHEESE!!!!!!” 

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