The Jukebox Cave was an animation created in response to being Artist-in-Residence at the Centre For Land Use Interpretation in Utah, USA. I became interested in the cave whilst travelling with the Land Arts of the American West in 2009. The CLUI site is part of an old WW2 airbase that housed the Enola Gay and Bockscar planes before they dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. I returned in 2012, living alone on the airbase for 1 month.
The Jukebox Cave was part of a series of caves that were situated a couple of miles from the base, up a steep incline. Vandalism in the 1980s meant that they were now closed off with iron bars and access had to be negotiated through the Utah State parks and through archaeologists associated with the site. The area was once part of a huge inland sea, Lake Bonneville, so although it was now in the middle of the Great Basin Desert, it had been formed by water. The airmen had found the cave, laid a concrete dance floor, hung festoon lighting, hauled up a generator and jukebox and held dances in the space. A few years after the base close down the cave and neighbouring Danger Cave were excavated. Artefacts dating the caves as ancient dwellings back to 9,000 BC were discovered. I was able to work with these objects at the Utah Museum of Natural History in Salt Lake City. I photographed them on a green screen. My animation in an imagining of different temporalities, different truths and histories simultaneously coexisting. There is a touch a magical realism as in this colliding of spaces and times the objects become the dancing GIs as they move round the cave to the echoes of Glen Miller.