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. 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.
The Actinium exhibition was an international hub for discussion about contemporary nuclear culture. The exhibition took place during the opening weeks of the SIAF 2014, and was 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, but its name reveals how little we know about the behavior 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. 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 included 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) and was curated by Art Catalyst's Associate Curator, Ele Carpenter.
Actinium was curated by Ele Carpenter, Arts Catalyst, produced by S-AIR; and took place during the opening weeks of the Sapporo International Arts Festival (SIAF) in July 2014. The project was organised by NPO S-AIR, Sapporo. Supported by: Daiwa Foundation; Pola Foundation; The Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan; City of Sapporo; Arts Council England; Goldsmiths College, University of London.
Actinium – Residency, Exhibition & Fieldtrip, 2014
Edited by NPO S-AIR and Ele Carpenter
Published in 2015
Cover design by Theodore Gray
Translated by Emi Uemura and Kyoko Tachibana
Colour and monochrome, 24 pages, softback and electronic
This publication has been made available as a PDF.