28 - 30 NOVEMBER 2009

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 through two new commissioned works by Chris Oakley and Simon Hollington & Kypros Kyprianou. 

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.

Video and photo archive of The Nightwatchman:

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.

Two discussion events accompany the exhibition.

Nuclear Talkaoke
Friday 14 November 2008, 3 – 7 pm
Nicholls & Clarke building, 3-10 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6PG

Hosted by The People Speak, the Talkaoke is a mobile chat-show  which will allow visitors to comment on the work and the issues around it in an informal and entertaining way. Admission is free and there’s no need to book, however if you would like to bring a group of people to the exhibition and Talkaoke, or if you have special access needs, please contact The Arts Catalyst on 020 7375 3690.

Nuclear Forum
Friday 28 November 2008, 10am – 6pm
The Royal Society of Arts (RSA), 8 John Adam Street, WC2N 6EZ

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 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.

James Acord, artist and ‘nuclear sculptor’
Keith Barnham (Imperial College)
Paul Dorfman (Warwick University), expert on nuclear consultation and radioactivity risks,
Kate Hudson (LSBU), chair of CND and editor of the journal Contemporary Politics
Kyp Kyprianou & Simon Hollington, artists
Steve Kurtz, artist and activist, Critical Art Ensemble (by video link)
Gustav Metzger, artist and activist, founder of Auto-Destructive Art
Chris Oakley, artist
Pam Skelton, artist (Central St Martins College of Art)
John Wills (Kent University), historian, author of Conservation Fallout, a look at nuclear protest in California

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.

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.

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.