Modern warfare forever changed after the United States dropped nuclear bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The world’s superpowers have subsequently engaged in arms races to see who has the most firepower and particularly disheartening byproduct means seeing how the weapons work. A staggering 2,053 bombs have been detonated since 1945 in the name of testing. Orbital Mechanics, a Montreal-based electronic music and visual art trio, visually depicts the data in haunting video called Trinity.
Far from an aesthetic exercise, Trinity is an elegant and poignant presentation of where the tests took place, when, the bombs’ strength, and who detonated them. (The United States tops the list with 1,030 followed by Russia with 715 and the U.K. at 45.) The video reads like a history of 20th-century political tension.
Through the 1950s and 1960s, there’s a cascading number of blips—which are also set to sound—in the South Pacific. Most of the activity happens in Russia and in the American southwest. The map goes mostly dark starting in the 1990s (though China causes a few blips). Countries signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1996 all but eliminating tests, save for a few in Pakistan and North Korea.