Friday 6 December 2019, 6-8pm
Room 106, Birkbeck School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD
With Susan Schuppli (Goldsmiths, Centre for Research Architecture) and David Burns (RCA, School of Architecture).
Book Tickets (free)
This public conversation between architect David Burns and artist Susan Schuppli explores the legacies of nuclear contamination within the global geographies of weapons testing, uranium mining, and power plants.
From British military activities at the Maralinga test site in South Australia during the cold war period of 1956-63 to the more recent discovery of radioactive contaminates off the West Coast of Canada linked to the accident at Fukushima-Daiichi four years earlier, these researchers explore the archival capacities of landscapes to recall and bear witness to the dispersed evidential histories of nuclear colonialism and energy production. Using their own image-making practice as a kind of divining rod for delving into the material memories of landscapes in combination with references to the works of other artists, Burns and Schuppli extend the classic photographic index to environmental systems themselves, treating landscapes as latent media whose inscriptive surfaces and chemical re-arrangements function as mnemonic devices for reassembling the past.
Susan Schuppli is an artist and researcher based in London, whose work explores the ways in which non-human witnesses, such as materials and objects, enter into public discourse and testify to historical events, especially those involving political violence, ethnic conflict, and war crimes. Assuming many different modes of communication, from legal analysis and public advocacy to theoretical reflection and creative exploration, her current research and artistic production expands these investigations to examine how environmental systems and the transformations brought about by global warming are also recording new forms of injustice and violence; creating, in effect, a planetary archive of material evidence.
David Burns is an architectural designer, researcher, curator, and artist. He coordinates the Media Studies programme at the Royal College of Art and was previously the founding director of the Bachelor of Design in Photography and Situated Media at the University of Technology Sydney and a visiting professor at the Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center. Engaging architecture, media, and politics, his work manifests as site specific art, academic research and writing, and innovative pedagogies in spatial design and media studies. His current research examines the material-media histories of Maralinga, South Australia, site of the British nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 60s.
Book Tickets (free)