These events cumulated in the rising fear of communism in the Cold War era, exemplified by McCarthyism and the House of Un-American Activities Committee, amidst fears of global annihilation.
Less apparent, though equally significant, was the rapid introduction of technology into the average North American household due, in a large part, to manufacturing processes developed by the war industry.
By the 1950s, the car, telephone, television, electric toaster, washer and dryer, refrigerator and portable radio became ubiquitous household items at an almost alarming rate, moulding into place the concept of the modern nuclear family.
'Naïve, unsullied' saucer films
It is striking that in the wake of these events, flying-saucer films retain a naïve, unsullied quality that is indicative of the 50s era.
Emphasized by crude production values and low-budget special effects, they convey a sense of innocence. Sometimes referred to as First Contact films, saucer movies almost always take place in the present, are often situated on earth and, possibly for budgetary reasons, represent aliens with human-like qualities.
By the early 1960s saucer films all but disappear, but the basic fears associated with them — world annihilation, destruction of natural resources and the overwhelming impact of technology in general — are equally pressing today.
While First Contact addresses these issues and references the significant social and political events that brought them into being, it is also meant to engage the viewer in a uniquely creative and immersive experience.
The artwork is located in the black box gallery at La maison de la culture Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, which is a multipurpose space equipped with a professional lighting grid.
When viewers enter the gallery, the first thing they see is a video projection of meteorites hurdling through the solar system, intermittently mixed with images of 1950s electronics and appliances.