In 1993 a team of experts were assembled in New Mexico to develop a plan to advert humans 10,000 years from now of the potential threat of a nuclear waste. Hieroglyphs, star charts, and land art are but some of the proposals and the texts themselves read as absurdist poetry, revealing a haunting reflection of our present.
The installation for my 2nd year critique includes a video reciting excerpts of these texts, porcelain beakers that weep iodine & x-ray prints of nuclear waste barrels weighted by lead sinkers.
𝓒𝓵𝓪𝔂 𝓱𝓸𝓵𝓭𝓼 𝓶𝓮𝓶𝓸𝓻𝔂, it has capillaries. It breaks. Low fired porcelain remains porous. Poured into the vessels is Iodine. As it seeps through the crackled glazed it turns a haunting shade of mauve when in contact with starch.
𝓘𝓸𝓭𝓲𝓷𝓮 is an element essential for human thyroid function. & in the case of a nuclear emergency can be consumed to protect from radiation.
𝓘𝓸𝓭𝓲𝓷𝓮 is found in the ocean and can be extracted from seaweed.
The name "iode", from the Ancient Greek ἰοειδής (ioeidēs, "violet"), was given to this newly discovered element because of the hue of it’s vapour.
(audio for video created from samples of ionizing particles close to a condenser mic)
A tryptic of three negatives printed on clear film, weighted by lead fishing lures.
The images are of x-rays of nuclear waste barrels. Images published from a document detailing the process of dealing with nuclear waste.
The third image is a print of my grandfather working as a laboratory technician in soil research.
His job was to test what vegetables would grow in fallout soil, in the case of a nuclear attack. My grandfather along with nearly all of his colleagues later died from various blood related cancers likely linked to exposure.
Routinely my grandfather’s lab coat would be collected and brought to a lab to determine how much radiation he had been exposed to. His lab coat–and arguably his life–became quantitative research, a test in a larger experiment.
The lab coat, like all materials used in proximity to radioactive substances, ended up in lead barrels: as nuclear waste.