13BC: Fatal Act

June 21 – September 7, 2019
Opening June 20, 2019, 6–8 pm

View trailer       Program notes (pdf) 

Fatal Act
concerns the ongoing legacy of atomic warfare and testing in the United States, spanning histories of conflict, toxicity, and the images made to celebrate or contest this legacy. 

The project takes its bearings from an unlikely correspondence between Claude Eatherly, the U.S. Air Force pilot whose "all clear" weather report precipitated the bombing of Hiroshima and whose botched robberies after the war landed him in and out of jail and psychiatric care, and Günther Anders, the German anti-nuclear activist and theorist who fixated on technology's capacity to outpace any human intention. More particularly, Fatal Act takes shape around a film that never came to be: Bob Hope’s attempted biopic of the life and crimes of Eatherly, a film that Anders warned stridently against, arguing that it would falsify the most “fatal act” of the century.

The exhibition extends from Anders’s rejection of the unmade film to articulate a broader refusal of the iconic images and atomic aesthetics that shaped public memory and sought to nullify revolt against nuclear proliferation, pollution, and the exploitation of indigenous land. The works that comprise Fatal Act develop provisional and analogical forms that seek to grapple with these histories, tracing paths between prop closets and desert test sites, casinos and waterfalls, Foley studios and Geiger counters, Hollywood sets and military hospitals. 

Fatal Act includes the premiere of three moving image works by 13BC – Straight Flush (2019), Act 1 (2019), and When Horses Were Coconuts (2019) – as well as Corpse Cleaner (2016/19), new piano music by Jason Moran, and the installation Good Times.

13BC is a research and production collective for moving images, founded and led by Evan Calder Williams, Lucy Raven, and Vic Brooks.

The exhibition Fatal Act is curated by Nicola Lees with Eva Cilman and co-commissioned by 80 Washington Square East gallery and the Rosenkranz Foundation, with additional support from La Biennale de Montréal, and the Center for Land Use Interpretation.

Photo credit: 13BC, Act 1 (2019), video still


Straight Flush is generously funded by the Rosenkranz Foundation

Co-produced by 80 Washington Square East gallery, with additional support from the Center for Land Use Interpretation

Written, directed, and edited by Evan Calder Williams, Lucy Raven, and Vic Brooks
Starring: Lily Gladstone, Bill Sage, Dana Wheeler- Nicholson, and Patrick Winczewski
Piano: Jason Moran
Cinematography: Nicolas Doldinger
Executive producers: Robert Rosenkranz, Nicola Lees, and Alex Smith
Production assistants: Eva Cilman, Cooper Campbell
Sound editor: Florent Barbier
Assistant camera: Scott Surman
Gaffer: Wayne Dahl
Grip: Dan Nestel
Sound recording: Jeff Hall
Hair and makeup: Jodi Gleave
Special thanks to Monthly Review Press and Willow Glen Films


Corpse Cleaner was commissioned by La Biennale de Montréal and Philippe Pirotte

Written, directed, and edited by Evan Calder Williams, Lucy Raven, and Vic Brooks

Voice-over: Dana Wheeler-Nicholson
Cinematography: Nicolas Doldinger
Editor/colorist: Beau Dickson
Assistant camera: Alex Purifoy
Gaffer: Edward “Al” Roberts
Audio Recording: Ron Kuhnke
Grips: Gabriel Rodriguez-Fuller, George Rayson, Carbon Therrien
Production assistants: Ishraki, Irina Jasnowski, Austin Rivera-Greene
Special thanks to Eclectic/Encore Properties, Inc.


When Horses Were Coconuts was filmed and edited by Evan Calder Williams, Lucy Raven, and Vic Brooks

Text from the writings of Robert L. Mott