This 5-channel sound-based work was prompted by the life of my grandfather, Lovell Cardenas. An engineer, Lovell helped to develop the first nuclear weaponry during World War II as an employee of the Manhattan Project. He was secretive about his work, as he was about much else in his life – Lovell was a communist working within the military industrial complex, and maintained romantic liaisons outside his marriage.
Manhattan Project seeks to evoke the creation of the atomic bomb from the perspective of an engineer, enmeshed in the defining political conflicts of his era. The droning of calutrons used to enrich uranium and the 44.4 second long free fall of the bomb find their place alongside propaganda, crooner Perry Como, and the Internationale in the soundscape of the piece.