In January 2018, a mobile alert was sent to the inhabitants of Hawaii warningthem that a “ballistic missile threat” was inbound to the island. Although themessage concluded with the line “this is not a drill”, the alarm turned outto be false. Hawaii was safe. If the threat of nuclear arsenals seemedto be a thing of the Cold War era, this incident showed that “nuclearity”, as Gabrielle Hecht calls it in the quotation, is part and parcel of today’s world. Nuclear anxieties have revived. However, “nuclearthings”, in all their iterations, do not necessarily take the same form as theydid back then — and even in the past, nuclearity was already marked by adazzling plurality of meanings.
Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou, Ruby de Vos, Of All Things Nuclear: On the Aesthetic Dimensions of the Atomic Era, Introduction, 2018