Held as part of Real Lives, Half Lives: Fukushima, a season of events and inquiries into disaster, displacement and poisoned lands, the workshop will explore nuclear energy and its hazardous consequences through the medium of storytelling and film.
Nuclear material is hazardous to living beings at all stages of the nuclear supply chain, from uranium mining to accidental reactor leaks, criticality incidents, spent nuclear fuel, and the use of nuclear weapons. Places where uranium is mined, processed and stored will remain hazardous to living beings for thousands of years. Future generations will need to be warned about their dangerous contents. There is no universal language with which to convey this danger. Whilst symbols change their meanings over time, the oral tradition of storytelling is the longest surviving archive there is.
'Consequences' or 'Exquisite Corpse' is a surrealist process of assemblage, of storytelling: players take turns to draw or write on folded paper; a practice that is both playful and enriching in its gradual disambiguation of a collective imagination. How can this process of unpredicatability and chance be used as a tool to disrupt our everyday logic? How can a questioning, intuitive method of storytelling be used to warn future generations of nuclear dangers? During the workshop participants will be invited to discuss key questions around nuclear disasters, guardianship and post-humanist thought. Stories that arise from this inquiry will be divided into a montage from which a short film or sound work will be developed. The aim is to test boundaries, create imaginary worlds and a story for the future.
Kerri Meehan and Alex Ressel’s practice is broadly concerned with time, technology and communication. Kerri and Alex began working together in 2012 on Superlative TV, a pirate television station they co-founded which broadcast in the frequencies left fallow following the digital switchover. They invited artists to screen work and made their own programming for the station. They continue to work collaboratively. Their practice is broadly concerned with time, production, materiality and communication. More recently, they created a time capsule with global online communities, the first video intentionally transmitted into deep space and a project about chimeras in museums which explores the relationship between myth and science. Alongside their practice they run public events, reading groups and workshops.
Alex and Kerri are presently working on a project about nuclear culture and storytelling. In order for future generations to be warned of the dangers, living stories that last as long must be told. Jawoyn paintings of people with signs of radiation poisoning and dreamtime stories that have been passed on for more than 20,000 years continue to warn against digging in “sickness county”, a part of the land with radioactive minerals. They will be visiting contended areas in Australia where uranium is mined and nuclear waste is stored. Alex and Kerri will run workshops in Australia and UK to collaboratively create stories and images that could communicate with future generations about the environment.