The Experiential Space Research Lab
at Gray Area
Kevin Bernard Moultrie Daye
Part of THE END OF YOU exhibition, THIS HAMMER (as described by the artist) is a kinetic memorial to the ongoing radioactive cleanup crisis in San Francisco’s Hunters Point and the recent discovery of a highly radioactive object in a parcel of Hunters Point (that had been declared safe since 2004). Named after James Baldwin’s 1963 KQED documentary about Bayview–Hunters Point, THIS HAMMER is comprised of 25 paper lanterns (one for each three years since the nuclear contamination of Hunters Point) inscribed with headlines from the Bay Area’s oldest Black newspaper, the San Francisco Bayview. As viewers approach the object its radiation signature responds, illuminating the lanterns with increasing intensity and color, and challenging us to consider living with the chemical Body Burden of inhabiting a toxic environment — one which our Black neighbors have endured for almost a decade. What happens when we lay our Burden down? Who will carry the weight?
Built with Arduino Unos, WS2812 LED strips, vellum, and ethernet cables. In consultation with the lead artist, Niki Selken and I designed and built the software and electronics for this piece. I also assisted in its construction and installation.