Patrick Nagatani

“Fin de Siècle,” Bat Flight Amphitheater, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

From the series "Nuclear Enchantment"

(Chicago, 1945 - October 27, 2017)


Ilfocolor print

Collection of the Akron Art Museum

Gift of George Stephanopoulos


More Information

This photograph was inspired by an Airforce Magazine account of a Pennsylvania dentist who decided, after the 1941 Pearl Harbor attacks, that the United States could utilize the bats from the Carlsbad Caverns to “fight back.” He proposed that very small bombs and time delay igniters be attached to the bats. President Roosevelt approved research into this plan. Titled Project X-Ray, it cost around $2 million and the lives of over 6,000 bats. Bats can be excellent hosts for, and spreaders of, infectious diseases. Fin de siècle denotes the end of an era, often regarded as a degenerate time but also one with hopes for a new beginning.

United States