Artists have been working with the cultural and environmental dimensions of nuclear power for a long time. Many have also been anti-nuclear activists as well. The artists want to raise awareness and contribute to the public discussion.
This work isn’t facile or simple, and drawing attention to it is done in a spirit of respect for the people currently working to minimise the impact of the disaster at Fukushima.
Dounreay Atomic Research Establishment (official website for decomissioning) is a sprawling monument to solidity, optimism and analogue engineering. The intangible alchemies and sense of romantic science at its heart are trapped like amber in archive film and in its colossal structures. Over the last two years, unprecedented access to the facility and to the UKAEA Archive at Harwell have allowed Gair Dunlop to explore the dream and the consequences of high science in a remote community.
Eve Andree Laramee has successfully secured funding through UnitedStatesArtists.org amongst other sources for her film/video project Slouching Towards Yucca Mountain. Yucca Mountain in Nevada is a proposed nuclear waste repository. This work in development is about another aspect of legacy.
Her initial proposal video is on youTube:
She has also posted some initial character sketches on youTube:
But each of these artists has their own personal history with nuclear activism. Sitting with Lorna Waite discussing art and nuclear activism I discovered that the reason she didn’t get to be Civic Week Queen in Kilbirnie when she was 16 was because she asked “What exactly is a safe container for radioactive waste?” She went on to an action to disrupt a meeting of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management – she took some sand from Dalgety Bay in a lead-lined container and a home-made Geiger-counter to the meeting. Dalgety Bay is polluted with radioactive waste because the luminous dials for WWII aircraft have ended up there (download an NHSFife document on the subject). She then went on to talk about the assassination of Willie Ross, an SNP activist who had been working on legal arguments against Nirex and their plan to do test drilling in the Scottish Highlands in preparation for developing a nuclear repository.