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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. The Actinium exhibition is a hub for an international discussion about contemporary nuclear culture. It is a partnership between Sapporo-based S-AIR and the UK arts organisation The Arts Catalyst, and forms part of the SIAF Collaborative Programme 2014. The Actinium exhibition is curated by Ele Carpenter of The Arts Catalyst and will be 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. We know surprisingly little about the behaviour 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. 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. 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 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).
The Actinium Forum brings together international artists from Japan, Britain and USA with Japanese academics, activists and researchers in the field of nuclear culture. Discussion topics include: political, social, material and philosophical concerns, geologic time, the nuclear cycle, DIY Science, radiation, immateriality and invisibility. The morning includes presentations by artists: Ryuta Ushiro (Chim↑Pom), Thomson & Craighead, Takashi Noguchi, Susan Schuppli, Nicola Triscott and others. The afternoon includes roundtable discussions on themes such as time, radiation and folklore. The Forum takes place on Sunday 27 July, 10am-5pm, for booking contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Field Trips will enable an interdisciplinary group of artists and researchers to visit nuclear sites on Hokkaido including the Underground Research Center for radioactive waste storage at Horonobe, and the Nuclear Power Plant at Tomari. A group of international artists will also travel to Sendai and Fukushima City.
Actinium is curated by Ele Carpenter, The Arts Catalyst, produced by S-AIR; and is a SIAF Collaborative Programme 2014. The project is organized by NPO S-AIR, Sapporo. Supported by: Daiwa Foundation, Pola Foundation, City of Sapporo, The Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, Arts Council England, Goldsmiths College, University of London.