Cold War Thaw

December 20, 2009

The situation is now pretty serious…  It is almost Christmas and I don’t have one viable project, never mind two…

So, today I went for a walk on Greenham Common…  I wanted to see what nature had done to the former American Airbase and nuclear missile base since it was given back to the people in 1999 – ten years ago.  Surprisingly, there is a link with Wales… the first of the Women Peace Campaigners marched to Greenham from Cardiff way back in 1981.  The protest started by their group lasted for 19 years!

It is hard to imagine that such a long campaign would be undertaken by anyone nowadays and I am thinking of making pictures around the common and matching them up with comments by and about the women peace campaigners and about the common’s former Cold War life.

I am also thinking about making portraits of women who use the common today… but that might be mixing strategies…

But, does the project have legs?

I didn't know what a Cruise Missile was, but it did get under my skin that Americans were putting their weapons in my country.

Each shelter was designed to withstand a thermonuclear airburst explosion above Greenham Common and Newbury or a direct hit from a 500lb conventional bomb.

As one woman cut through the wire fence to protest on the missile silos, she had a vision of Jesus emerging from the tomb.

For many of the Greenham Common Peace Camp women, nuclear missiles were a form of male oppression.

The Embrace the Base protest, which brought an estimated thirty-fivethousand women together to link arms and surround the base, had supporters from every continent.

'I experienced acts of kindness from unexpected sources.'

The complex held 96 launch-ready missiles.

A second visit – just before the snow set in – produced the following.  The light was terrible… Sketches of a project: