NEON Dundee

The Goddess of Uranium is Angry. Detail from 'Laboratory for Variable Risk Perception' Ele Carpenter, 2017
The Goddess of Uranium is Angry. Detail from 'Laboratory for Variable Risk Perception' Ele Carpenter, 2017

The Laboratory for Variable Risk Perception will be showing as part of the Media Archeology exhibition at the NEON Festival in Dundee, Scotland, 9 - 12 November 2017.

Media Archaeology: Excavations exhibition
West Ward Works
Guthrie Street, Dundee, DD1 5BR
Free. Open Fri to Sat 11am to 5pm and Sun 11am to 4pm

Our Nuclear Heritage starts with uranium, a naturally occurring element as old as the earth, which has fuelled an extraordinary technology whose effects will outlive the human race. In contrast, uranium glassware is one of the most familiar everyday experiences of radiation inhabiting our domestic spaces, radiating an uncanny green glow under ultra-violet light.

The Laboratory for Variable Risk Perception is an artwork by Ele Carpenter that reveals the media-archaeology of depleted uranium, a by-product of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons production, captured in domestic uranium glass. The digital age has been powered by nuclear electricity that has created millions of tons of radioactive waste without a long-term storage solution. In the 21st century humans are planning to vitrify and bury this waste deep in the fossil record, creating a geological strata of radioactive isotopes suspended in glass that will be detectable for millions of years. This artwork is an amateur laboratory for measuring of the radioactivity of uranium glass to consider variable risk perception from banal denial of the nuclear, to the psychic fear of radiation. For nuclear advisors it has been an example of safe radiation levels, whilst others are alarmed by its radioactive content.

Combining Nineteenth century alchemy with concerns for nuclear safety and the intergenerational responsibility of storing radioactive waste, the project contributes to the evolving discourse of the nuclear arts and humanities. Uranium Dioxide (uranium salts) has been used to colour glass since the early 19th Century, and the earliest glass in this collection dates from about 1870. Today the glassware is commonly available in charity shops and antique centers.

Ele is giving a talk enititled "The Goddess of Uranium is Angry" at the Dundee Pecha Kucha: