Griffiths, DA., 2016.
Deep Field [Unclear Zine]
Artistic voices increasingly participate within public understanding about the growing physical and cultural presence of radioactivity; Autogena & Portway (2016), Schuppli (2016) and Thomson & Craighead (2016) have investigated materiality and time in ancient, contemporary and future nuclear sites. Deep Field [Unclear Zine] was commissioned for an international touring exhibition and public programme, which re-frames James Acord's 1999 artwork Roundtable to offer recent and new artistic perspectives on the aesthetics of nuclear waste and its Anthropogenic impact.
This research focuses on two villages in northern Belgium, and the voices of their scientific and citizen actors. The research engages archival media to narrate the multiple troubling affects in this burdened community, whose complex remit is to manage the nation's legacy of nuclear energy and waste, negotiate potential local megaprojects for its safe deep-time burial, and resolve how these decisions and sites should be communicated to protect the biohazard from contact by future generations. The research engages an original concept of microtopia, a deep-time method to depict overlapping and compressed temporalities of such a heterotopia (Foucault, 1984), through the condensing and long-lasting capabilities of microfiche media. In surpassing microfiche's limited commercial function as disciplined, factual repository, the research pioneers its artistic and epistemic use as a miniaturised zine format - a disorderly subcultural vehicle to transmit folklore about the nuclear zone that exposes how its material emergency arose.
Fieldwork in Belgium documented the site's experimental technology, situated knowledge and micropolitics through photography, conversations and performance. In the studio, a critical figure of the modest-witness (Haraway, 1997) was added through fictional characters in poetry and comics art developed with collaborators. This speculative artistic mode was collaged with the documentary content on a single microfiche sheet - producing a zine that critically depicts journeys of nuclear materiality in the post-colonial past, anxious contemporary, and uncertain future entangled in the techno-scientific infrastructure.
As a new method in contemporary media art, Deep Field re-thinks microfiche as medium for site-responsive discourse. Its method can be applied in practices of nuclear records- and knowledge-management, and nuclear-archaeological heritage; the zine suggests how distributing knowledge via durable non-digital fragments might augment other archival or monumental forms of remembrance in the nuclear landscape.
Autogena, L. & Portway, J. 2016, Kuannersuit; Kvanefjeld
Foucault, M. 1984 'Of other spaces: utopias and heterotopias', Architecture/Mouvement/Continuité
Haraway,D.1997, Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium. Femaleman_Meets_Oncomouse: Feminism and Technoscience
Schuppli, S. 2016, Trace Evidence
Thomson, J. & Craighead, A. 2016, Temporary Index