Nuclear power is re-emerging as a concern for our times. It seems to stand both for the failed utopian promises of modernism and a fresh hope for a carbon-free future. The Arts Catalyst exhibition Nuclear: Art & Radioactivity explores these contradictions through two new works by Chris Oakley and Simon Hollington & Kypros Kyprianou,
commissioned in association with SCAN.
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”, “seriously flawed”, and “procedurally unfair.” Soon after this event, Simon Hollington & Kypros Kyprianou started a residency at the British Atomic Nuclear Group. Hollington & Kyprianou’s installation is the outcome from this residency, with an emphasis on the work the artists did as part of the wide-ranging public consultation process into siting a new nuclear power facility in the heart of London.
Chris Oakley’s film ‘Half-Life’ looks at the histories of Harwell, birthplace of the UK nuclear industry, and the development of fusion energy technology at the Culham facility in Oxfordshire. An examination of nuclear science research through a historical and cultural filter, it includes live action material alongside archive sources and animated sections drawn from scientific diagrams.
A ‘Talkaoke’ event is being hosted by The People Speak on the afternoon of Fri 14 November within the exhibition in the Nicholls & Clarke building. A mobile chat-show, the format allows all 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.
In partnership with the RSA’s Art & Ecology programme, The Arts Catalyst presents a forum at the RSA on Friday 28 November (10am to 6pm) exploring the impact of nuclear power in art, culture and society. Prominent artists, writers and experts will discuss their work and engagement with issues around nuclear energy, from Hiroshima
through the 50s’ ‘white heat of technology’ and Cold War nuclear tensions to present day energy debates.
Speakers include the controversial American ‘nuclear sculptor’ James Acord, whose work caused great public and media attention as the highlight of The Arts Catalyst’s ‘Atomic’ exhibition in London ten years ago. Admission is free, please register at email@example.com
NUCLEAR is commissioned and produced by The Arts Catalyst in association with SCAN and the RSA’s Art & Ecology programme.