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Kim Stringfellow, "Ostrich", 2002
Kim Stringfellow, "Ostrich", Camp Hanford Health Safety Billboard, circa 1944, Courtesy U.S. Department of Energy

Kim Stringfellow, View of the physical installation of \   Kim Stringfellow, View of the physical installation of "Safe as Mother's Milk", at Cornish College of the Arts Harvard House, Henriette E. Woessner Alumni Gallery, Seattle, WA, 2002
Kim Stringfellow, "Reports", 2002   Kim Stringfellow, "Reports", view of the physical installation, at Cornish College of the Arts Harvard House, Henriette E. Woessner Alumni Gallery, Seattle, WA, 2002
Kim Stringfellow, "Safe As Mother’s Milk", 2002   Kim Stringfellow, "Safe As Mother’s Milk", screenshot from web page, 2002
Kim Stringfellow

Safe as Mother's Milk: The Hanford Project 2002

Safe as Mother's Milk is a physical installation and web-based documentary examining the atomic history of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation located in southeastern Washington State. For more than forty years, Hanford released radioactive materials into the environment on an uninformed public while producing plutonium for America's nuclear arsenal during the Cold War era. This project incorporates recently declassified documents and historical photographs available online through the Hanford Declassified Document Retrieval System.

Project Background:
For more than forty years, Hanford released radioactive materials into the environment on an uninformed public while producing plutonium for the U.S. nuclear arsenal during the Cold War era. Although the majority of the releases were due to activities related to production, some were also planned and intentional. Hanford workers, their families and other downwind residents became literal guinea pigs for radiation experiments that were carried out at the facility by the former Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), the Department of Defense, Department of Energy (DOE) and civilian sub-contractors including DuPont and General Electric from 1944 to 1972.

Although civilians were informed of Hanfordıs plutonium-production activities by the end of World War II, officials in charge kept secret the growing number of radioactive releases, experiments and other environmental safety hazards resulting at the facility.

During the mid-1980s, increasing public suspicion over Hanford activities forced government agencies and their civilian sub-contractors to release formally classified documents through a request under the Freedom of Information Act. With the release of these documents in 1986, the public has been able to piece together a devastating chronicle of atomic weaponry production that consequently poisoned the people it was ironically meant to protect. Thousands of area residents from towns and farms surrounding the Hanford Site and beyond have suffered an array of health problems including thyroid cancers, autoimmune diseases and reproductive disorders that they feel are the direct result of these releases and experiments.

Safe as Mother's Milk examines these important events through declassified historical photographs, media and documents available online at various government archives, including the Hanford Declassified Document Retrieval System and Human Radiation Experiments Information Management System (HREX). The physical installation includes collection of symbolic objects and ephemera relating to the subject. This project was commissioned by Adrian Van Egmond for Cornish College of the Arts ART + ACTIVISM 2002 Visiting Artist Series.

Safe as Mother's Milk website

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