Perpetual Uncertainty – Art and the Nuclear Anthropocene, Z33 House for Contemporary Art, Hasselt, Belgium, 17 September – 10 December 2017
The exhibition brings together international artists from across Europe, the USA and Japan to investigate experiences of nuclear technology, radiation and the complex relationship between knowledge and deep time. Launch party features commissioned DJ set Sonic Radiations by MeteorMusik.
Curated by Ele Carpenter: “The nuclear anthropocene describes how man-made radiation has contaminated the earth, forming a mark of human activity that will last for hundreds of thousands of years. Whilst 20th century fallout provides a time-stamp of the first nuclear age from nuclear weapons testing; the 21st century repositories for high-level radioactive waste will physically create a new geologic layer in the earth’s fossil record for over 100,000 years. Looking beyond the modernist vision of a utopian nuclear age, contemporary artists are engaging with the lived experience of radiation through nuclear objects, architectures and landscapes. They are investigating new forms of nuclear vernacular, folklore and rethinking the markers and archives of the nuclear anthropocene.
Z33 present the exhibition in their beautiful 18th century beguinage building, a series of interlinking rooms on two sides of a courtyard. Hasselt is a town in the Flemish (Dutch) speaking part of Belgium, which also includes the Belgian Radioactive Waste Research Centre, SCK-CEN, the HADES Underground Research Lab at Mol, and the radioactive waste storage site at Dessel. We have worked closely with the waste agency for a couple of years to arrange site visits and roundtable discussions with artists, and to engage the wider community with the exhibition.”
Sellafield, 23 January 2017
Ele Carpenter (Goldsmiths University/Arts Catalyst) and Dave Griffiths travelled with producer Beatrice Pickup and presenter Gordon Young to the Greycroft Stone Circle and Sellafield nuclear site, Cumbria, UK to record for a BBC Radio 4 documentary, Radioactive Art, scheduled for broadcast on 2 March 2017. Read Ele’s full report on the Nuclear Cultures blog.
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.