For the exhibition Hiroshima Art Document 2015, seventy years after the Hiroshima bomb, Hans van Houwelingen made the video: Hey Paarth, what about the atom bomb?
J. Robert Oppenheimer, the architect of the first atomic bomb that was detonated at Los Alamos in New Mexico on July 16, 1945, likened the immense destructive power of the bomb to Shiva's appearance in the Hindu epic Bhagavad Gita, to the episode where Shiva assumes the form of omnipotent destroyer of worlds in order to convince prince Arjuna wage war. This 2000-year-old holy text, whose wisdom, by its own account, dates back to the earliest days of mankind, announces the Kali Yuga, the 'era of the demon', that began in the wake of Arjuna's massive war. This epoch of degeneration and massacre includes our present age, where humanity is furthest removed from its ideal state.
Hey Paarth, what about the atom bomb? resituates the Bhagavad Gita's knowledge of humankind within the social and political circumstances that permitted the decision to drop the bomb on Hiroshima - a historical fact that continues to defy our thinking, the notion of an ethical progress of humanity.