Loading Pit

In an anticlimactic minimalist staging, the camera stands still in a remote corner of the Utah desert, revealing an atomic bomb loading pit used for military practice, while a voice over reads parts of the unclassified user manual "How to built an Atomic Bomb Loading Pit" released to the public in June 1946. The sonic suspension imposed by the computerized slowness of the subjectless reader frames the deep time dimension of this arid dusty landscape in Wendover. We are led through details of the manual, which suggests forms to best-adapt to the terrain, climate, soil conditions in the pit area, to allow for the needed cleanliness and security precautions for Boeing B-29 atomic bomb loading. Later in the film the loading pit starts to deform and drift in voided suspension, isolated it from its environment. Dramatizing the implicancy of this site of warfare in its semiotic and physical density, the camera approaches the space slow motion, replicating the angle of sight of the airplane pilot. The concrete, practical materiality of the pit contrasts the exponential scale of the planetary consequences brought upon by this piece of infrastructure. In this construction eroded by the light of the desert, we encounter what is perhaps one of the most significant monuments that mark the end of the holocene.

In this film which is supported by The Center for Land Use Interpretation and Sonic Acts, Lukas Marxt explores once more, what are the impacts of anthropogenic inhabitation, deploying a tactical usage of minimalist anticlimactic aesthetics and scrutinized framing of military ruins. Resituating our perception of nuclear atomization, Marxt film navigates through shifting timescales, abducting the viewer to a dehumanized timeless dimension which is deranging and uncertain, just as the full scope of the nuclear isotope decay. (Margarida Mendes)

More Texts

Viennale Katalogtext 2019 (Critique)

Wie so oft zeigt er uns eine erschreckende Spur, die der Mensch in der Natur hinterlassen hat, und wieder operiert er an der Schnittstelle von Kunst und Wissenschaft. Diesmal lässt Marxt uns unter anderem die Perspektive eines Bomberpiloten einnehmen, der sich in der Wüste von Utah jenem Ladeschacht nähert, aus dem er mit einer Atombombe bestückt werden soll. Computerstimmen tragen das Manual „How to build an Atomic Bomb Loading Pit“ vor, wodurch sich der Eindruck der zeitlichen Dimension atomarer Restenergie noch einmal verstärkt. (Roman Scheiber)

Viennale catalogue text 2019

Increasingly, innovative artists are asking us to imagine and appreciate scales of time and space that are beyond a single human life – even beyond the entire human species on earth. Marxt delves into the mindboggling paradox of an apparently modest loading pit in an American wilderness, designed for nuclear weapons; how could such a banal construction contain or control the energies associated with it? Dehumanising via computer the voices that recite from the pages of some old military manual and progressively blackening the space outlining the pit, this film dares us to face a dark infinity. (Adrian Martin)
Orig. Title
Loading Pit
Austria, Germany
10 min
Lukas Marxt
Orig. Language
Loading Pit (Image)
Loading Pit (Image)
Loading Pit (Image)
Lukas Marxt
Available Formats
DCP 2K flat (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
5.1 surround
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format
Digital File (prores, h264)
Festivals (Selection)
Viennale - Vienna Int. Film Festival
München - UnderDox, Festival für Dokument und Experiment