Leslie Thornton’s They Were Just People is a chilling exploration of the purpose and repurposing of memory during wartime. The work combines the artist’s manipulated footage of the La Brea Tar Pits in California with an oral account describing moments in the immediate aftermath of the 1945 US atomic bombing of Hiroshima in Japan. Thornton’s video emerges as a dark personal response to CROSSROADS (1976), artist Bruce Conner’s iconic film of the 1946 Bikini Atoll nuclear test. They Were Just People is the third installment in the Moving Image Commissions, a series that addresses works by key artists in the Walker’s Ruben/Bentson Collection. 2016, video, 10 minutes.