Nuclear Energy and the Commons – A Workshop

Sabu Kohso, political and social critic, scholar and activist, and Arts Catalyst’s artistic director and founder, Nicola Triscott, lead this workshop examining nuclear waste as an ultimate form of “negative commons”, discussing this in relation to the planetary commons and nuclear capitalism. Questions explored included: In what way can radioactive waste be understood as a commons displaced from its proper place? What is the uneven impact of that waste on communities? How has nuclear capitalism endured in Japan after such an expansive disaster? How has the image of a “safe Fukushima” been fabricated? How can such forces be questioned, contested and opposed?

Researchers, students, artists and activists with interests in the politics and social context of nuclear energy or the management of the commons were invited to join the workshop.

Reading of interest

Mutation of the Triad: Totalitarianism, Fascism, and Nationalism in Japan, Sabu Kohso, eflux, 2014
The Global Nuclear Regime, Sabu Kohso, The Indypendent, 2011
Radiation and Revolution, Sabu Kohso, borderlands, 2012
 

Workshop leaders

Sabu Kohso is a political and social critic, translator, scholar, and a long-time activist in the global and anti-capitalist struggle. A native of Okayama, Japan, Sabu has lived in New York City since 1980. He has published several books on urban space and struggle in Japan and Korea, and has translated books by Kojin Karatani and David Graeber. He has written extensively on the Fukushima disaster from the perspective of global anticapitalist struggles.

Nicola Triscott is a cultural producer, curator and writer, specialising in the intersections between art, science, technology and society. She is the founder and Director of Arts Catalyst, for which she has curated many exhibitions and events. Nicola lectures and publishes internationally, including books on art and technology in the Arctic, art and space, and ecological art. She blogs at www.nicolatriscott.org on the critical inter-relationships between the arts, humanities and our technoscientific society.

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Sabu Kohso and Jason Waite: Confronting a Catastrophic World

Political and social critic, scholar and activist, Sabu Kohso, will give a lecture and then be in conversation with curator Jason Waite, a member of the Don’t Follow the Wind curatorial collective. Kohso regards the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor meltdown and release of radionuclides into the environment as an ongoing and unfolding disaster, one among many disasters across the globe caused by the intensifying development of extractive capitalism across the planetary body. As such, it embodies the collapsing world and the omnipresent life-as-struggles on the earth.  


Sabu Kohso is a political and social critic, translator, scholar, and a long-time activist in the global and anti-capitalist struggle. A native of Okayama, Japan, Sabu has lived in New York City since 1980. He has published several books on urban space and struggle in Japan and Korea, and has translated books by Kojin Karatani and David Graeber. He has written extensively on the Fukushima disaster from the perspective of global anticapitalist struggles.

Jason Waite is an independent curator focused on forms of practice toward forming agency across diverse fields such as art, society, politics and critical theory. He has co-curated Don’t Follow the Wind, an ongoing project inside the uninhabited Fukushima exclusion zone, The Real Thing?, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, Maintenance Required, The Kitchen, New York, and White Paper: The Law by Adelita Husni-Bey at Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory, Utrecht where he was curator.

 

 

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Project Fukushima!

Project Fukushima! was instigated by musicians Yoshihide Otomo and Michiro Endo, as well as the poet Ryoichi Wago, all born or residing in Fukushima. The initiative is a network for trying out new social forms with artistic activities as their basis. It reflects on problems that confront the region after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The project was begun in May 2011. In August of that same year came the first “Festival Fukushima!” which attracted more than 10,000 visitors. The activities of the network also include the internet broadcast station “Dommune Fukushima!”, the “School Fukushima!”, a place for further education, as well as the fund-raising initiative “DIY Fukuahima!” This is meant to provide a financial basis for the long-term continuation of artistic activities.

Filmmaker Hikaru Fujii accompanied the activities and discussions during the preparations for the “Festival Fukushima!” with his camera over a period of seven months. The documentary film precisely and unpretentiously observes the different attitudes of the participants, also illuminating the areas of conflict between the protagonists.

The film is 90 minutes in length. During the exhibition the start times will therefore run throughout the day at 12pm, 1:30pm, 3pm and 4:30pm.

Supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Arts Council England.
With special thanks to NPO S-AIR, Project Fukushima!, Art Action and IKLECTIK

 

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A Walk in Fukushima

The curatorial collective Don’t Follow the Wind (Chim↑Pom, Kenji Kubota, Eva and Franco Mattes, Jason Waite) came into being through the exhibition project initiated by Japanese collective Chim↑Pom. On 11 March 2015, on the fourth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the crisis at the nuclear power plant at Fukushima, the curators working with a group of twelve participating artists including Ai Weiwei, Aiko Miyanaga, Chim↑Pom, Grand Guignol Mirai, Nikolaus Hirsch and Jorge Otero-Pailos, Kota Takeuchi, Eva and Franco Mattes, Meiro Koizumi, Nobuaki Takekawa, Trevor Paglen, Taryn Simon, and others opened an inaccessible exhibition entitled Don’t Follow the Wind inside the radioactive evacuated area surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, comprising a series of projects presented at three venues – a warehouse, a farm with a home and an unopened restaurant, and a recreation centre.
 
Seven municipalities lie within the 337-square-kilometre zone currently under restrictions. An estimated 24,000 people are not allowed to return to their homes, many living in temporary housing for the past 5 years. In total more than 100,000 people have been forced to evacuate in the wake of the disaster, with tens of thousands more fleeing, fearing the potential health implications. Given that it may be decades or more before zones within the Fukushima Prefecture are declared safe from radiation and residency restrictions are lifted, it is reasonable to consider that the exhibited artworks will remain unseen and inaccessible for the probable future. 

The project was named for the everyday actions and knowledge of an evacuee that became extraordinary as they fled south towards Tokyo after the disaster so as to avoid exposure to radiation borne on a northwesterly wind.

At Arts Catalyst, Don’t Follow the Wind present their new work A Walk in Fukushima , previously shown at the Sydney Biennale in 2016.

A Walk in Fukushima is an immersive 360-degree video piece viewed through headsets made in workshops with the former residents The headsets were made by three generations of the Fukushima family of artist Bontaro Dokuyama, who live just outside of the zone in a contaminated area deemed “safe to live” by the government. The grandson, mother, father, and grandmother all made headsets that share their objects and experiences from this new reality.

Filmed in and around the uninhabited radioactive area, the video presents an intimate experience of the inaccessible zone, the confidential venues for the exhibition Don't Follow the Wind, and the power plant itself. The artworks, which are installed in the resident’s former homes and working spaces within the exclusion zone, are largely obscured by the figures of the artists and members of the curatorial team, retaining their inaccessibility and remaining shrouded and invisible to the outside world; highlighting the ongoing impact of the events of 11 March 2011, and ensuring that Fukushima will not be forgotten.

The invisible exhibition is dated 11 March 2015 – ongoing, commencing on the fourth anniversary of the disastrous Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It will open to the public when the exclusion zone is lifted. The project was initiated by Chimpom, and curated by Kenji Kubota, Jason Waite, and the artist duo Eva and Franco Mattes, with participating artists including Ai Weiwei, Aiko Miyanaga, Chim↑Pom, Grand Guignol Mirai, Nikolaus Hirsch and Jorge Otero-Pailos, Kota Takeuchi, Eva and Franco Mattes, Meiro Koizumi, Nobuaki Takekawa, Ahmet Öğüt, Trevor Paglen and Taryn Simon.

Supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Arts Council England.
 
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Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima

Arts Catalyst presents two exhibitions and a season of events reflecting on disaster, displacement and poisoned lands.

Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima is a season exploring cultural and societal responses to disaster, displacement and poisoned lands. What can art do in an ongoing catastrophe? How do citizens respond to a situation that forces tens of thousands of people out of their homes, land, and communities, many of whom probably cannot return for decades?

Arts Catalyst presents two solo exhibitions by artists that respond to the man-made disaster of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown, alongside a series of events exploring the profound social, cultural and political impact of Fukushima in Japan and the lessons we may learn.

A Walk in Fukushima - Don’t Follow the Wind

The curatorial collective Don't Follow The Wind Chim↑Pom, Kenji Kubota, Eva and Franco Mattes, Jason Waite - who developed the long-term project and its ongoing off-site correspondences, was initiated by Chim↑Pom. On 11 March, 2015, an inaccessible exhibition entitled Don't Follow The Wind opened in Fukushima on the fourth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (owned by TEPCO). The exhibition is situated inside the radioactive, evacuated area surrounding the power plant at sites lent by former residents, which include a warehouse, farm, and a recreation centre. The curators collaborated with twelve artists including Ai Weiwei, Chim↑Pom, Grand Guignol Mirai, Nikolaus Hirsch and Jorge Otero-Pailos, Meiro Koizumi, Eva and Franco Mattes, Aiko Miyanaga, Ahmet Öğüt, Trevor Paglen, Taryn Simon, Nobuaki Takekawa, and Kota Takeuchi. Located inside the inaccessible Fukushima exclusion zone, the exhibition is open and yet remains unseen. It will continue to be invisible for years or even decades.

At Arts Catalyst, the curatorial collective has formed a correspondence with the inaccessible exhibition. Whilst the artworks in the original exhibition remain unseen in the exclusion zone, other objects from the sites appear on display, bearing material witness to the ongoing catastrophe. These physical artefacts include the farmhouse keys and cafe furniture from a restaurant that had intended to open on the farm a few weeks after the disaster. The restaurant, its inauguration now perpetually deferred, has instead become a host for artworks that the former residents see as conceptual placeholders for their absence.

A Walk in Fukushima is an immersive 360-degree video made by the curatorial collective. Filmed in and around the uninhabited radioactive area, the video presents an intimate experience of the inaccessible zone, the venues for the exhibition Don't Follow the Wind, and the power plant itself. The video follows the account of a former resident's visit to his abandoned home inside the exclusion zone; it is shown on headsets made by three generations of a Fukushima family living just outside the zone in a contaminated area deemed 'safe to live' by the government. The accompanying narratives of these headsets share personal accounts and experiences of this new reality: the restrictions, the rumours and the desires for a different future seen from their unstable present.

Project Fukushima! - Hikaru Fujii

Artist Hikaru Fujii’s film Project Fukushima! follows the preparations for a festival held in Fukushima city five months after the nuclear disaster. The festival, called simply “Fukushima!” was organised by a group of artists and musicians including Yoshihide Otomo. They aim to give visibility to Fukushima’s current state just as it was. The film features music and poetry by Yoshihide Otomo, Michiro Endo, Ryoichi Wago and people from Fukushima and other regions of Japan. It was not a typical festival since the organisers had to address questions such as: Would it be ethical to bring people to Fukushima? What about children? And what would it mean to the people of Fukushima if the festival had to be called off after all due to radiation concerns? Throughout the film we see how the lives of people in Fukushima have changed and what the future might look like for the next few generations.

Born in 1976, Hikaru Fujii creates video installations that respond to contemporary social problems. He makes use of extensive research and fieldwork investigating existing systems and structures, based on the idea that art is produced out of the intimate relationship between society and history. His work explores modern education and social systems in Japan and Asia as well as the nature of museums and art museums.

Events Programme

The “triple disaster” of earthquake, tsunami and meltdown energised many people in Japan to become more proactive, vocal and dissenting. Mass anti-nuclear protests were held countrywide in the years following the disaster and smaller scale protests are still widespread. A citizen science movement sprang up in response to the slow release (some claimed withholding) of radiation data, with citizens using their own radiation-measuring devices to measure levels of radioactivity and post that data online. Legal challenges and petitions against nuclear power in Japan point to another tactic used by a citizenry that wishes to reclaim more governance over its environment and safety. Japanese artists have responded with an array of approaches, and have often been at the forefront of dissent and critique.

A programme of talks, events and activities will run through May to July, in partnership with Art Action UK. Art Action UK is a collective that explores ways to create opportunities for cultural practitioners to develop strategies that will help those affected by disasters.

Nuclear Energy and the Commons – A Workshop
Wednesday 31 May 2017, 2 - 4pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, but pre-enrolment essential
Sabu Kohso, political and social critic, scholar and activist, and Arts Catalyst’s artistic director, Nicola Triscott, lead this workshop examining nuclear radiation as a “negative commons” and discussing this in relation to the planetary commons and nuclear capitalism.
More information available here

Sabu Kohso and Jason Waite: Confronting a Catastrophic World
Wednesday 31 May, 6.30pm - 8pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
£5, booking essential
Critic, scholar and activist Sabu Kohso and curator Jason Waite discuss the Fukushima disaster as an ongoing and unfolding situation, one among many disasters across the globe caused by the intensifying development of extractive capitalism across the planetary body.
More information available here

Consequences: A collaborative film-making workshop
Saturday 17 June, 12-5pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
£3, bring your own lunch
Kerri Meehan and Alex Ressel invite workshop participants to make a collaborative film or sound work, using the framework of the surrealist game of “Consequences”. The workshop will use imagination and storytelling to address the consequences of the global nuclear industry in a deep time context.
More information available here

Fukushima Artists' Films: Screening and Discussion with Kodwo Eshun (The Otolith Collective)
Wednesday 21 June, 6:30pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
£5, booking essential
Kodwo Eshun of The Otolith Collective presents an evening of screenings of artists’ responses to the 03/11/11 Fukushima Disaster. 
Tadasu Takamine: Japan Syndrome Kansai version
Nina Fischer and Moroan el Sani: I Live in Fear After March 11
Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Ernst Karel and Verena Paravel: Ah Humanity!
 
Workshop: Artistic Practice - Working with Displaced and Peripheral Communities
Wednesday 28 June, 2-6pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, booking essential
This workshop aims to provoke conversations around artistic and cultural practices that explore communities affected by peripheralisation and marginalisation as a result of conflicting power dynamics.
 
Cromer Street: O-Furoshiki Stitching Group 
Saturday 1 July and Saturday 15 July, 2-5pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, drop-in
You are invited to participate in two workshops that will take place in early July at Arts Catalyst and to actively engage in the creation of a cloth that will be sent back to Fukushima as a gesture of reciprocity.
 
Curators Talk: Jason Waite and Kaori Homma
Wednesday 5 July, 6:30pm
Arts Catalyst Centre, 74-76 Cromer Street, London WC1H 8DR
£5, (£3 concession) Booking essential
Curators Jason Waite and Kaori Homma discuss their work in relation to Arts Catalyst’s presentation of Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima
 
Fukushima and Visual Inquiry: Philippe Rouy Film Screening and Conversation with Jason Waite and Kodwo Eshun
Thursday 13th July, 6:30pm
Arts Catalyst Centre, 74-76 Cromer Street, London WC1H 8DR
£5, booking essential
Philippe Rouy's films explores different notions of seeing in relation to the Fukushima disaster. An in-conversation with Kodwo Eshun of The Otolith Collective and curator, Jason Waite, will follow the screening.
 
Cromer Street Stitching Group and Closing Celebration
Saturday 15th July, 2-5pm
Free, drop-in
This is the second of two stitching meet-ups to create a cloth for Cromer Street. To celebrate the closing of Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima, the end of this session will see the cloth unfolded in Cromer Street and the surrounding area.
 

SUPPORTERS

Supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Arts Council England.

With special thanks to NPO S-AIR and Project Fukushima!.

 

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Kota Takeuchi in discussion with Eiko Honda

Artist Kota Takeuchi in conversation with curator and writer Eiko Honda chaired by artist Kaori Homma from Art Action UK

During his time in the UK, Kota Takeuchi will be researching the deep time concerns of monuments, site markers and memory around the UK and Belgium. He will undertake field research at the Belgian underground research laboratory for the geologic storage of radioactive waste in partnership with Z33 and the Belgian nuclear waste agency NIRAS / NIROND.

On Saturday 16 July curator and writer Eiko Honda will be in discussion with Kota Takeuchi, chaired by artist Kaori Homma from Art Action UK. Kota Takeuchi's residency has been organised by S-AIR in Japan in partnership with Arts Catalyst, supported by the Sasakawa Foundation and Agency for Cultural Affairs, the Government of Japan.

Event schedule
 

3pm – 4pm KotaTakeuchi Open Studio

4pm – 5pm Eiko Honda in conversation with Kota Takeuchi, chaired by Kaori Homma.

5pm – 6pm Discussion and drinks

 

Biographies

Kota Takeuchi is an artist based in Tokyo / Fukushima, Japan. He produces performative videos and oil paintings about how we physically view images of public scenery, social events, and their memory. His work explores the loop of digital image capture and distribution.
His solo exhibition Open Secret, 2012, explored the labour problems at the Fukushima Dai’ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. Takeuchi acts as the agent for Finger Pointing Worker (a man who pointed at the public live camera at the Fukushima power plant after the disaster in 2011). 
 
 
Eiko Honda is a writer and curator of contemporary art and transnational intellectual history. She is the 2013-2016 curatorial fellow of the Overseas Study Programme for Artists, Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan. She is a contributor to The Nuclear Culture Source Book, edited by Ele Carpenter, forthcoming September 2016. Recent papers include: 'Political Ecology of Art and Architecture in Japan: 100 Years Ago and Now' in Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art (Intellect, 2016). Her curatorial work is driven by the idea of history as an enquiry that unravels potential new understandings of the planetary past, future and present. Recent exhibitions include Saya Kubota: Material Witness, Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, London; and Missing Post Office UK, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham. 
 
Kaori Homma is an artist and co-founder and co-ordinator of Art Action UK. Homma is Associate Lecturer at University of Arts London at Central Saint Martins and Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges (CCW), her art practice includes social engagement, fire etching and video exploring time, and reflecting on nuclear concerns. Art Action UK was established in response to the 2011 Japanese earthquake, tsunami and subsequent Fukushima nuclear fallout. The project supports artists who have been affected by natural and manmade disasters to undertake residencies in London including: Kyun Chome, Yoi Kawakubo, Komori & Seo, Hikaru Fujii, and Kaya Hanasaki. 
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Actinium – Residency, Exhibition & Fieldtrip, 2014

The Actinium publication is an account of the exhibition, field trip and discussion forum for Nuclear Culture during the Sapporo International Arts Festival in Japan, 2014.

Artists are making the nuclear economy increasingly visible by rethinking nuclear materials and architectures, decay rates and risk perception; questioning the 20th Century belief in nuclear modernity. As the international population becomes more aware of their role as participants in nuclear culture, this exhibition aims to create a space for open discussion.

The Actinium exhibition was an international hub for discussion about contemporary nuclear culture. The exhibition took place during the opening weeks of the SIAF 2014, and was the base for film screenings, discussion forum and field trips exploring the relationship between the metropolis and nuclear sites in rural Hokkaido.

Actinium is a radioactive element named after the Greek word ‘aktis’ a beam or ray, but its name reveals how little we know about the behavior of different kinds of alpha, beta and gamma radiation. Today the word actinium conjures ideas of action in response to radioactive materials as they enter the public realm through the nuclear cycle of weapons, energy, pollution and waste. Today artists and geologists explore the human time of the Anthropocene as the nuclear industry tries to reverse-mine radioactive waste back into the ground. The geological time frames for radioactive decay are beyond human comprehension and challenge the limits of knowledge and not-knowing.

The exhibition included works by artists James Acord (USA), Shuji Akagi (J), Chim↑Pom (J), Crowe & Rawlinson (UK/De), Karen Kramer (USA/UK), Cécile Massart (Belgium), Eva & Franco Mattes (USA), Thomson & Craighead (UK/Scotland) and was curated by Art Catalyst's Associate Curator, Ele Carpenter.

Actinium was curated by Ele Carpenter, Arts Catalyst, produced by S-AIR; and took place during the opening weeks of the Sapporo International Arts Festival (SIAF) in July 2014. The project was organised by NPO S-AIR, Sapporo. Supported by: Daiwa Foundation; Pola Foundation; The Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan; City of Sapporo; Arts Council England; Goldsmiths College, University of London.

 

Publication details

Actinium – Residency, Exhibition & Fieldtrip, 2014
Edited by NPO S-AIR and Ele Carpenter
Published in 2015
Cover design by Theodore Gray
Translated by Emi Uemura and Kyoko Tachibana
Colour and monochrome, 24 pages, softback and electronic

This publication has been made available as a PDF.

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The Nuclear Culture Source Book, Sept 2016

The Nuclear Culture Source Book serves as an excellent resource and introduction to nuclear culture as one of the most urgent themes within contemporary art and society, exploring the diverse ways in which post-Fukushima society has influenced artistic and cultural production

The book brings together contemporary art practices investigating the nuclear anthropocene, nuclear sites and materiality, along with important questions of radiological inheritance, nuclear modernity and the philosophical concept of radiation as a hyperobject.

Building on four years of research into nuclear culture by the book’s editor, Ele Carpenter, The Nuclear Culture Source Book features contributions by over 60 artists and is accompanied by a series of essays by international writers including: Peter C. van Wyck, The Anthropocene’s Signature; Gabrielle Hecht, Nuclearity; Tim Morton, Radiation as Hyperobject; Jahnavi Phalkey, The Atomic Gift; Noi Sawaragi, Don’t Follow the Wind; Eiko Honda, Atomic Subjectivity; Susan Schuppli, Trace Evidence: A Nuclear Trilogy; Victor Gama, Searching for Augusto Zita; Nicola Triscott on James Acord; and Ele Carpenter’s interviews with members of the Submarine Dismantling Project Advisory Group in the UK.

Featured Artists

James Acord, Shuji Akagi, Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway, Erich Berger, Chim↑Pom, Thomson & Craighead, Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson, Gair Dunlop, Emptyset, Merilyn Fairskye, Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani, Victor Gama, Joy Garnett, Giuliano Garonzi, Grand-Guignol Mirai, Dave Griffiths, Annie Grove-White, Helen Grove-White, Isao Hashimoto, Hilda Helström, Cornelia Hesse-Honneger, Hollington and Kyprianou, Martin Howse, Pierre Huyghe, Ai Ikeda, Robert Jacobs and Mick Broderick, Katsuhiro Miyamoto, Yoi Kawakubo, Bridget Kennedy, Yves Klein, Erika Kobayashi, Karen Kramer, Sandra Lahire, Jessica Lloyd-Jones, Veronika Lukasova, David Mabb, Cécile Massart, Eva and Franco Mattes, William Morris, Yoshinori Niwa, Takashi Noguchi, Chris Oakley, Uriel Orlow, Trevor Paglen, Yelena Popova, Monica Ross, Susan Schuppli, Taryn Simon, smudge studio, Isabella Streffen, Shimpei Takeda, Nobuaki Takekawa, Kota Takeuchi, Mika Taanila and Jussi Erola, Robin Tarbet, Suzanne Treister, Alana Tyson, Mark Aerial Waller, Andy Weir, Jane and Louise Wilson, Louise K Wilson, Ken + Julia Yonetani.

The Nuclear Culture website has more information about Ele Carpenter's research.

Endorsements

“Marshall McLuhan said that art was an early warning system in times of technological change. In bringing together nuclear art and critical writings that tell our culture what is happening to it, Ele Carpenter’s compelling book proves him right.”
 John O’Brian, Curator of After the Flash, 2015

"A fascinating book visualising the affects of radiation at a time when radioisotopes from Fukushima are being detected around the world."
Dr Paul Dorfman, The Energy Institute, University College London

“It is important that different ways of understanding the nuclear industry are preserved for future generations. Artworks and books that explore nuclear culture will be archived in museum collections in perpetuity, providing an important contemporary view that is accessible to a wide range of people.”
Shelly Mobbs, Director, Eden Nuclear and Environment Ltd

Publication details

The Nuclear Culture Source Book
Edited by Ele Carpenter
Published by Black Dog Publishing in partnership with Bildmuseet, Sweden and Arts Catalyst, Sep 16 in UK, Oct 16 USA/CAN
Dimensions 25 cm x 18 cm
208 pages

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Sterile / Sensei Ichi-Go

A two part commission by Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen


Sterile
Albino goldfish engineered to hatch without reproductive organs. They were not conceived as animals but made as objects, unable to partake in the biological cycle. An edition of 45 goldfish was produced for the artists by Professor Yamaha Etsuro in his laboratory in Hokkaido, Japan, following an intricate collaboration process which began in 2011.

Commissioned by Arts Catalyst and Schering Stiftung. With thanks to Professor Yamaha Etsuro, Kimura Sizuo, Kyoko Tachibana, Dr Rachel Rodman, Michiko Nitta, Charles Duffy, Arron Smith, Oliver Coles, Leon Eckert, Hannah Fasching.

Sensei Ichi-Go
A machine capable of producing sterile goldfish in an automated reenactment of Yamaha-Sensei’s movements and actions. Physically articulating this fabrication process, its mechanisation allows for the standardisation of both sequence and animal. A contraption with its own (dormant) choreography, the machine is an assembly line, a printer, a puppet master, a potential.

Commissioned by Arts Catalyst and Schering Stiftung. With thanks to Professor Yamaha Etsuro, Kimura Sizuo, Kyoko Tachibana, Ben Ditzen, Frank Verkade.

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Actinium

An exhibition, forum and research programme involving UK and Japanese artists in investigating nuclear culture in Japan post-Fukushima. Part of the SIAF Collaborative Programme 2014

Artists are making the nuclear economy increasingly visible by rethinking nuclear materials and architectures, decay rates and risk perception; questioning the 20th Century belief in nuclear modernity. As the international population becomes more aware of their role as participants in nuclear culture, this exhibition aims to create a space for open discussion.

The Actinium exhibition was an international hub for discussion about contemporary nuclear culture. The exhibition took place during the opening weeks of the SIAF 2014, and was the base for film screenings, discussion forum and field trips exploring the relationship between the metropolis and nuclear sites in rural Hokkaido.

Actinium is a radioactive element named after the Greek word ‘aktis’ a beam or ray, but its name reveals how little we know about the behavior of different kinds of alpha, beta and gamma radiation. Today the word actinium conjures ideas of action in response to radioactive materials as they enter the public realm through the nuclear cycle of weapons, energy, pollution and waste. Today artists and geologists explore the human time of the Anthropocene as the nuclear industry tries to reverse-mine radioactive waste back into the ground. The geological time frames for radioactive decay are beyond human comprehension and challenge the limits of knowledge and not-knowing.
 

Exhibition

OYOYO, 6F Daini Mitani Bldg, South 1 West 6,Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0061 Japan

The Exhibition includes works by artists James Acord (USA), Shuji Akagi (J), Chim↑Pom (J), Crowe & Rawlinson (UK/De), Karen Kramer (USA/UK), Cécile Massart (Belgium), Eva & Franco Mattes (USA), Thomson & Craighead (UK/Scotland). Curated by Ele Carpenter (UK).
 

Forum

The Forum brought together international artists from Japan, Britain and USA with Japanese academics, activists and researchers in the field of nuclear culture. Discussion topics included: political, social, material and philosophical concerns, geologic time, the nuclear cycle, DIY Science, radiation, immateriality and invisibility. Presentations by Ryuta Ushiro (Chim↑Pom), Thomson & Craighead, Takashi Noguchi, Susan Schuppli, and Nicola Triscott and roundtable discussions. The Forum took place on Sunday 27 July 2014.
 

Field Trip Programme

Field Trips enabled an interdisciplinary group of artists and researchers to visit nuclear sites on Hokkaido. These sites included the Underground Research Center for radioactive waste storage at Horonobe, the Nuclear Power Plant at Tomari, and the East Coast of Japan.
 

Acknowledgements

Actinium was curated by Ele Carpenter, Arts Catalyst, produced by S-AIR; and took place during the opening weeks of the Sapporo International Arts Festival (SIAF) in July 2014. The project was organised by NPO S-AIR, Sapporo. Supported by: Daiwa Foundation; Pola Foundation; The Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan; City of Sapporo; Arts Council England; Goldsmiths College, University of London.
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