Nuclear Culture Roundtable: Design for the Deep Future

Z33 X Neuhaus
Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam
4 July 2019. Time: 16.00 - 18.30

Departing from central issues of the Nuclear Anthropocene, the event will address strategies of dealing with nuclear waste, the difficulty of communicating and marking contaminated sites for future generations, and challenges of designing infrastructures for the deep future. From rethinking nuclear heritage, biological citizenship and contamination, and the stability of human knowledge at large, to dealing with the specific situation of nuclear waste management in the Netherlands, the discussion will navigate across different timescales and ecologies, and geopolitical and aesthetic regimes of nuclear matter.

The Nuclear Culture Roundtables bring together artists, designers, architects, philosophers, anthropologists, sociologists along with nuclear agencies, scientists, stakeholders and NGOs. The first Netherlands-based round table discussion will take place in the context of the Neuhaus programme at Het Nieuwe Instituut, and is organized in collaboration with Z33 House for Contemporary Art. With Dr Ele Caprenter, Andy Weir, COVRA, Svitlana Matviyenko, Anna Volkmar, Ruby de Vos and more.


Ele Carpenter
Dr Ele Carpenter is Curator of the Nuclear Culture project. Her curatorial research investigates nuclear aesthetics through commissioning new artwork, publishing, curating exhibitions, site visits and roundtable discussions in partnership with arts organisations and nuclear agencies. Ele regularly participates in European workshops on the role of culture in long-term radioactive waste management, and was interviewed for 'Radioactive Art' on BBC Radio 4 (2 March, 2017). Carpenter is convenor of the Nuclear Culture Research Group at Goldsmiths University of London where she is a Reader in Curating. She is a Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of the Arts, University of Cumbria.

Andy Weir
Andy Weir is an artist and writer, regularly exhibiting and publishing work internationally. He is currently working on an art practice-based PhD research project at Goldsmiths, University of London. Starting from the premise of the inadequacies of the condition of Contemporary Art to offer a vision of the future (if art is always ‘contemporary’, how can it have a future?), he is researching collaborative interdisciplinary methods of future-sensing. Weir’s focus is on deep geological repositories for long-term storage of nuclear materials, and sites as projections of ‘deep’ material timescales – the billion of year timescales of radioactive decay, for example, indifferent to the priority of human life. Such research, offers an important contribution to debates around art and ‘speculative’ realist developments in philosophy. His artwork Pazugoo is on show in Neuhaus.

Svitlana Matviyenko
Svitlana Matviyenko is an Assistant Professor of Critical Media Analysis in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University, Canada. Her research and teaching are focused on political economy of information, infrastructure studies, history and philosophy of science. She is a co-editor, with Paul D. Miller, of The Imaginary App (MIT Press, 2014); (with Judith Roof) of Lacan and the Posthuman (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018); and a co-author (with Nick Dyer-Witheford) of Cyberwar and Revolution: Digital Subterfuge in Global Capitalism (Minnesota UP, 2019). She writes about the networking drive and user complicity; practices of resistance and mobilization; information and cyberwar; legacies of the Soviet techno-politics, including the Chernobyl catastrophe. She conducted four research trips to the Chernobyl Zone of Exclusion and is working on a book ‘Citizenship and Contamination’, where she rethinks the notions of territory and citizenship in the framework of the posthumanist thought.

Ewoud Verhoef
Ewoud Verhoef (COVRA). The Central Organisation for Radioactive Waste is the only company in the Netherlands that is qualified to do collect, processe and store radioactive waste. In order to be able to treat this radioactive waste, COVRA has established a treatment and storage facility in the province of Zeeland, at the docks in Vlissingen-Oost in the municipality of Borsele. In the Netherlands, radioactive waste is stored above ground at COVRA for at least 100 years. During this period, research is conducted on possibilities for geologically disposal of the radioactive waste.

Anna Volkmar
Anna Volkmar is a PhD candidate at the Center for the Arts and Society at Leiden University (The Netherlands). Currently, she is in the final stages of writing her dissertation on the capacity of contemporary art to critically engage with the nuclear condition. She holds a Master’s degree in Arts and Culture from Leiden University and a Bachelor’s degree in Art History, Musicology and Film studies from the Philipps-Universität Marburg (Germany).

Ruby de Vos
Ruby de Vos is a PhD candidate at the Institute for the Study of Culture at the University of Groningen (the Netherlands). Her research explores the embodied temporalities of radio- and chemical toxicity in contemporary literature and art. In addition to her work on toxicity, she has published on female monstrosity in contemporary American literature and she is a co-editor of the anthology Legibility in the Age of Signs and Machines (Brill, 2018). She was the managing editor of the ‘Kunstlicht’ issue on ‘Nuclear Aesthetics' together with Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou.