Nuclear Traces


Open School East

Image by Mark Leary

The issue with environmental justice is that in most cases, the ‘crime’ does not involve an outburst of visible damage. The accretive consequences and effects of toxins and nuclear particles for example, are expanded in time as well as in space, often making it extremely complex to retrace the causes and to collect legal proof. A tempting loophole for those who wish to use it to their advantage.

Nuclear catastrophes have inspired artists and cultural practitioners to experiment and push the boundaries of their practice, producing projects that are not merely representations of the superficial consequences on site, but also engage with the imperceptibility of the contamination, its slow infiltration and direct effect with its surroundings.

Susan Schuppli’s moving image work for instance aims to reverse the usual invisibility of the radiations released in the following years of nuclear disasters by exploring the geological consequences that nuclear molecules cause. In doing so, within the video trilogy ‘Trace Evidence’, she attempts to reconstruct the journey made by the radioactive molecules throughout a time-spatial span by looking at three cases: the Oklo uranium mine in Gabon, contaminated dust released by Chernobyl which spread all the way to Sweden, and the leak of the Fukushima reactor that travelled the ocean to ‘land’ to the Vancouver Island.

As part of the Speculative Tours strand of OSE 2016, ‘Trace Evidence’ will be screened at the Open School East followed by an open discussion.