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.
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.
35mm B&W microfilm collage, microfiche reader, 350 x 400 x 350mm
“Looking squarely ahead, brave and joyous, at the world. The squads march to work. All that matters to us now is Treblinka. It is our destiny.” Song by Kurt Franz, Treblinka commandant, August-November 1943
Viewers browse through a layered, compressed representation of trench TREB04, excavated in 2013 on the site of the gas chamber at Treblinka, Poland. Magnified microfilm fragments depict archaeological trench finds that locate place and corroborate Holocaust eyewitness testimony. Viewers perform the evidence, as durational observers who optically uncompress the material over time. They navigate the brief time and space of the camp’s mechanised, chaotic extermination and demolition, enacting gestures inherent to decoding the indexical illusions of both photography and forensis. Data and images from the excavation combine with microfilm’s archival potential as carrier of textual evidence for future translation.
Produced for the touring exhibition Finding Treblinka: Artists Respond, commissioned by Centre for Archaeology, Staffordshire University, and funded by Rothschild Foundation. Data courtesy of forensic archaeologist Caroline Sturdy-Colls.
Truth of Transience Digicommissions, Full Circle Arts, Manchester,
Geotagged photocollages & microfiche plate, 148 x 105mm
Mongolian cosmology depicts a bed made from dust for the Lord of the Upper World, which his jealous brother stretches in all directions to create the land.
Since 2004, Kangbashi New Area has existed on the Ordos steppe of Inner Mongolia. Exploding on former herding lands, fuelled by mineral wealth and a neoliberal Chinese property boom, Kangbashi is only sparsely populated. Controversially, the city continues to build empty houses and infrastructure, and is the subject of many negative Western media reports. Economists call it a lost cause. It’s a living ghost-town, an oxymoronic space of potential caught between accelerating GDP and imminent decline. Dave Griffiths walked the city to capture half-built apartments, splendid gardens, malls, migrants, mines, and archaeological echoes of the ancient nomadic culture. Griffiths’ photocollages imagine the future remains of Kangbashi’s utopia as compressed fragments archived on microfiche. In an online edition, viewers can browse these images in close-up detail.
Supported by funding from MIRIAD. Dave will discuss the project at Booth Centre homeless shelter on 2 February 2015, as part of a photography workshop by David Oates. Other Full Circle Digicommissions by Volkov Commanders, Kevin Burns, Claire Dean, Hardeep Pandhal and Lauren Velvick.