Saturday, June 27, 2009

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] artists and atoms: fission and fusion

Dear All,

It becomes very difficult to summarize the discussion on fusion and
fission and their interactions with the cultural/art field. Like
Patrick, I am surprised by the evolution of the discussion, from
fission/fusion to the nanoscale (and would look again at the Critical
Art Ensemble project in relation to Project Plowshare). If we have to
look at nuclear energy, Guillermo did relate well the problematic
between different interests: his example is Spanish, but echoes other
nuclear nations. At the moment, France seems to start questioning the
status of radioactive waste. For the ones reading French, you can find
an article on the topic in Le Monde:

This is just a press article which I see as aiming to give more
visibility to nuclear power in a country where power plants are
numerous yet almost invisible, (and also as a disturbance of Sarkosy's
politics). At the moment when we realise that fossil energy is limited
and problematic, nuclear energy appears as the next modern energetic

But what I find most surprising is the divergence between science,
politic, media coverage and citizens (east and west) in terms of
interest. Art in that context, seems again to react to events more
than trying to act as a link between the various interests (whilst
having its own interest of course). From the numerous artistic
projects and objects I came across, a great majority intends to hold a
critical position because of the very political aspect of nuclear
power, rather than an abstract and/or enthusiastic ones. But I am
still researching for more 'neutral' projects.

To come back to the French context (and for French speakers again I am
afraid) there will be an interesting radio broadcast this Sunday on
France Culture called "Atomic Radio 137". The statement reads that it
is "a program that will be broadcasting from Radio Chernobyl, the most
powerful broadcasting station in the world, from a residency done at
the boarder of the zone of exclusion, in Volodarka in Ukraine."

Here is the web link:

From the standpoint of the arts, I have heard of a former powerhouse
transformed into an art space in Canada (called the Power Plant
, and visited former coal mining sites in Germany turned into art
spaces too. Perhaps, this is what we can hope for: nuclear power
plants transmuted into art spaces when alternative energy sources (or
production) will render the former obsolete?

It is very interesting to read also about the atom for peace award.
The use of nuclear power for something other than bombs or energy is
also very intriguing. There was an exhibition at the Wellcome Trust
Gallery in London called "War and Medicine", trying to show how the
ever sophistication of weapons (and the types of war) also pushed
advances in medicine and in other fields (that can be a long discussed
of course), and the effects of the war on the body of the soldier
(physically and mentally). The section on nuclear war was
unfortunately very short, with only two videos to instruct inhabitants
how to react in the case of nuclear attacks (prevention). Out of the
medicinal or detonative use of the technology, is there any other
possible use of this technology?

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