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UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Hammer Museum present

Crossroads / The Exploding Digital Inevitable

A mushroom cloud.
July 30, 2023 - 7:00 pm
Q&A with Ross Lipman, Michelle Silva (Conner Family Trust).

Admission is free. No advance reservations. Your seat will be assigned to you when you pick up your ticket at the box office. Seats are assigned on a first come, first served basis. The box office opens one hour before the event.

In 1976, groundbreaking collagist, sculptor and filmmaker Bruce Conner released his magnum opus, a 36-minute assemblage of U.S. government footage of the iconic Bikini Atoll atomic bomb test. If Conner invented the modern found footage film with A Movie in 1958, he re-invented it with Crossroads. His editing of the film's brilliant "dual" score — by seminal minimalist composer Terry Riley and synthesizer pioneer Patrick Gleeson — evokes a surreal beauty latent in the devastating images that comprises one of the most profound meditations on the nuclear era extant.

The Exploding Digital Inevitable is a live documentary essay by Ross Lipman, who oversaw the restoration of Crossroads in 2012. Integrating an array of movie and audio clips, still photographs and rare archival documents, Lipman tells the story of Crossroads' unique production, as well as the massive cultural spectacle of the original Bikini Atoll tests themselves. It also chronicles the extraordinary collaboration of Conner with Riley and Gleeson, including original interviews with both composers. As part of this program, The Exploding Digital Inevitable will be presented jointly with Crossroads for a total run time of 90 minutes.

Program note by Ross Lipman.

Special thanks to our community partners: UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture.


U.S., 1976

DCP, b&w, 36 min. Preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

The Exploding Digital Inevitable

U.S., 2017

Multimedia, b&w and color, approx. 54 min.