Roundtable Discussion, Bildmuseet, Umeå University, Sweden, 19 November 2016
A discussion about art and the deep time of radiation to accompany the Perpetual Uncertainty exhibition. Short presentations by artists and nuclear scholars will take place in the Bildmuseet Flexi-hall, followed by a series of small roundtable discussions bringing together a range of disciplinary perspectives on the nuclear, including artists and people working on the long-term storage of radioactive waste in Europe. The event is inspired by James Acord’s roundtable that he built in his Hanford studio, USA 1999, to bring together environmentalists and people from the nuclear industry to discuss the clean up of the Hanford site.
Introduced by Ele Carpenter and chaired by John O’Brian, with Roundtable facilitators in Bildmuseet and HumLab: Thomson & Craighead; Deep Time Consultation, Jantine Schröder; Remote Sensing Radiation, Susan Schuppli; Nuclear Anthropocene, Peter C van Wyck; Intergenerational responsibility, Johan Swahn; Camera Atomica: Radiation and Photography, John O’Brian; Deep Time Microfiche, Dave Griffiths.
Invited participants will include artists, film-makers, activists, policy makers, professionals engaged in nuclear research and radioactive waste management. In addition members of the public with an interest in nuclear issues, deep time, art and radiation will be able to buy tickets online.
Arts Catalyst & Z33 House for Contemporary Arts, Belgium, 11 – 13 July 2016
A field trip to HADES, Belgium’s underground research lab in Mol, for geologic disposal of high-level radioactive waste. Organised by Nuclear Cultures project in with Z33 (Hasselt), and ONDRAF/NIRAS (Belgian agency for radioactive waste and enriched fissile materials), artists Kota Takeuchi, Andy Weir, Dave Griffiths and curators Ils Huygens and Ele Carpenter spent 3 days visiting Z33 and meeting Christoph Depaus, Maarten Van Geet and Jantine Schröder at SCK.
I organised Deep Field [Club Golf Nuclea Mol] – an art-science golfing dialogue reflecting on time as underground moles in the HADES research bunker, and re-enacting leisure pursuits of post-war nuclear workers. I’m collecting thoughts and feelings on future mattering of time and space implied by burying, and co-existing with, nuclear waste. I’m producing content for Deep Field [Unclear Zine], a microfiche fanzine collaging poetry, drawing, data, photographs and interviews that attempts to translate the contemporary radioactive waste repository for far-future readers, as a folkloric site of conflict and unknowing.
The HADES lab was constructed in 1980, at 255 metres underground, to research possibilities of geological disposal in deep clay strata. Like underground facilities in France, Sweden and Japan, the research lab is not intended to be used as a final repository for radioactive waste. Hades is also the Greek god of the underworld.
Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide, 6 July – 15 September 2016
The Wiener Library’s new exhibition will explore the Nazi labour and extermination camps of Treblinka using the ground-breaking research of Staffordshire University archaeologist Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls and artistic responses to the topic curated by Michael Branthwaite.
For the first time in the UK, this archaeological work will be adapted and displayed along with specially commissioned artworks by Michael Branthwaite, Janine Goldsworthy, Dave Griffiths, Hilary Jack and Jenny Steele.
Through the team’s unique, predominantly non-invasive approach, a more accurate picture of the camps has emerged. At the same time, religious and ethical considerations surrounding their investigation have been respected. This work allowed the old gas chambers, mass graves and a large number of objects to be located. The innovative exhibition includes highlights from the Library’s collections, such as a contemporary map of Treblinka, Nazi documentation and testimony from survivors. It examines the history and architecture of the camps and the forensic archaeological process that helped reveal the camp’s history. The exhibition also explores the application of art as a means to provide access to scientific and historic data.
Museum of Struggle and Martyrdom in Treblinka, 2 August – September 2015
Curated by Caroline Sturdy-Colls & Michael Branthwaite: “Finding Treblinka includes new physical evidence uncovered at the sites of the former Nazi extermination and labour camps during a seven-year research investigation undertaken by staff from Centre of Archaeology at Staffordshire University, which have shed new light on the nature of the Nazis’ crimes. A temporary exhibition Finding Treblinka: Artists Respond accompanies the permanent installation, representing an innovative collaboration in which artists have responded to archaeological findings from both the extermination and labour camps. The opening of the exhibitions will feature a commemoration ceremony, and takes place on the 72nd anniversary of the Treblinka revolt.
The artists responses have been driven by their individual practice and concerns over how specialist scientific information can be communicated to a wider audience. The show focuses on how artists can create new discourses and dialogues that create change in the way we think about history and its relationship with the present. It explores how we process and build histories around objects, and how science and art can come together to enhance public knowledge about sensitive and traumatic events.
The artworks range from text-based wall works to free standing sculpture. Re-appropriated objects also feature, such as a re-upholstered chair exhibiting motifs from the objects found during the excavations at Treblinka. Since the objects found during these excavations will remain at the site, the artworks will eventually provide a travelling surrogate, offering viewers a conversational experience that will also hopefully encourage people to visit Treblinka”.
Archaeological research by Caroline-Sturdy Colls, with artists Michael Branthwaite, Janine Goldsworthy, Dave Griffiths, Hilary Jack and Jenny Steele.
Wall drawing, telescope, microdot light boxes
“History […] is a progressive transcoding of images into concepts, a progressive elucidation of ideas, a progressive disenchantment (taking the magic out of things), a progressive process of comprehension.” Vilém Flusser, Towards a Philosophy of Photography
Deep Field [The Photographic Universe] connects the present-day city with the early universe, via the invention of microdots in Victorian Manchester. With advice from the Astrophysics Research Institute and in response to the dimensions of Castlefield Gallery’s double-height wall, this pseudo-planetarium samples a 40 degree POV in the southerly sky, presented as an information surface for navigation and observation. Around 450 deep-field galaxies were and images collected from online databases such as Sloan Digital Sky Survey, Simbad and Galaxy Zoo. Using catalogues compiled by early modern astronomers Herschel and Dreyer, and hundreds of international observers dating from antiquity to modernity, it explores the disenchantment, and communal commemoration, of material reality brought about by photography.