Artists Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead investigate understanding of geological and planetary time through the relationship between live data and the material world. Their temporary index is an online database of live decay-rate counters, which operate as markers of time as well as place. The artwork utilises live and pre-recorded data feeds which can be embedded in specific sites, syndicated online, presented in art galleries, preserved in a museum collection, and included in nuclear archives. The artwork publically presents invisible data through a series of numeric counters which countdown the probabilistic decay of radioactive materials in seconds. The design of the counters demonstrates how human measurement of time is a process of linguistic and pictorial language. The result is an animated object of contemplation; representations of time that far outstrip the human life cycle and provide us with a glimpse into the vast time scales that define the universe in which we live, but which also represent a future limit of humanity’s temporal sphere of influence.
The counters include: Onkalo Spent Nuclear Fuel Repository, Finalnd; Hallam Nuclear Generating Station, USA; Waste Isolation Power Plant (WIPP) USA; Repository for Radioactive Waste Morsleben, Germany; Schacht Asse II Intermediate Waste Store, Germany; Piqua Nuclear Power Facility, USA; Hanford, USA; Dodewaard Nuclear Power Plant, Netherlands; Chernobyl Reactor #4, Ukraine. temporary index was developed during a residency at HUMlab in partnership with Bildmuseet, Umeå University, 2015.
temporary index will be exhibited at KARST in Plymouth, as part of the exhibition Material Nuclear Culture curated by Ele Carpenter.