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Live Stage: Nuclear: art & radioactivity [uk London]

Nuclear: art & radioactivity – New commissions by Chris Oakley and Simon Hollington & Kypros Kyprianou :: until November 30, 2008 :: Nicholls and Clarke Building, 3-10 Shoreditch High Street, Spitalfields, London :: Nuclear Forum – November 28, 2008; 10 am – 6 pm :: The Royal Society of Arts (RSA), 8 John Adam Street, London.

Nuclear power is re-emerging as a concern for our times, both as a generator of energy and as part of a defence strategy. Today it seems to stand for the failed utopian promises of modernism and a fresh hope for a carbon-free future. The contradictions that lie at its core have provided a rich source of questioning for artists, scientists, ecologists and activists for many years. The Nuclear exhibition explores these intricacies.

Last year, high court judge Jeremy Sullivan caused an apparent setback to the government’s nuclear energy ambitions by ruling that public consultation into the creation of a new fleet of nuclear power stations was “misleading” and “seriously flawed”. Soon after these events, Simon Hollington & Kypros Kyprianou started a residency at The British Atomic Nuclear Group as part of a public perceptions programme. Hollington & Kyprianou’s work in Nuclear is the outcome from this residency, particularly their work within B.A.N.G’s wide-ranging public consultation into the possibility of siting a nuclear power facility in the heart of London. Their new installation, The Nightwatchman traces changing perceptions of the nuclear power industry over its 50 year history through a single immersive narrative environment, blending fact and fiction into a darkly humorous journey through hard-nosed PR and spin to a logical hysteria.

Simon Hollington & Kypros Kyprianou have been working together since 1999, as well as having individual practices. They work in a wide range of media, particularly video and installation. Their work has been shown at the Venice Biennale 2005, the ICA, London, New Forest Pavilion, Artsway Hampshire, and at exhibitions and film festivals internationally.

Chris Oakley’s new film ‘Half-life’ looks at the histories of Harwell, birthplace of the UK nuclear industry, and the new development of fusion energy technology at the Culham facility in Oxfordshire. Oakley gained the cooperation of both these organisations in his research and filming. The film examines nuclear science research through a historical and cultural filter. With the recent widespread acceptance of the reality of climate change driven by carbon dioxide emissions, the work explores the realities and myths surrounding the nuclear sciences.

Chris Oakley has exhibited at a number of major international media arts festivals and exhibitions, including Transmediale in Berlin, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and a prize at the Media Forum of the Moscow International Film Festival in 2005.

Nuclear Forum

In partnership with RSA Arts & Ecology, The Arts Catalyst and SCAN present a forum exploring the impact of nuclear power in art and culture. Prominent artists, writers and experts will discuss their work and engagement with the issues around nuclear energy, from Hiroshima through the 50s’ ‘white heat of technology’ and the Cold War nuclear tensions to present day energy debates. Speakers include American ‘nuclear sculptor’ James Acord, artist Gustav Metzger, founder of the auto-destructive movement, Kate Hudson, chair of CND, historian John Wills, who studies nuclear landscapes and protest, Paul Dorfman, an expert on public consultation in nuclear issues and risk from radioactivity, and Steve Kurtz of Critical Art Ensemble (by video link). Free, but please register at art@rsa.org.uk

ACCESS: The Nicholls and Clarke Building and the RSA are accessible to people in wheelchairs. Please note there is no on-site toilet at the Nicholls & Clarke Building. For other access enquiries, please contact The Arts Catalyst on 020 7375 3690.

Nuclear: art & radioactivity is commissioned and produced by The Arts Catalyst with SCAN media arts agency, and in association with RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce) Arts & Ecology. The Arts Catalyst and SCAN are funded by Arts Council England.


Nov 18, 17:04
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