Deep Field [Unclear Zine]
As care for future generations is key to state policy on long-term management of radioactive nuclear waste, how can an artist respond to aesthetics of waste, its geographical impact, and the epistemological problem of communicating biohazards to far-future humanity? This research uses archival media to re-imagine the matter of deep-time radiological inheritance.
Deep Field [Unclear Zine] is a zine edition published on microfiche in response to HADES, an underground lab investigating feasibility and safety-case for geo-burial of decommissioned high-level waste in eastern Belgium. In opposition to microfiche’s limited industrial function as long-term information repository, my practice seeks to pioneer the medium as a zine format – a subcultural vehicle to transmit folklore, which advocates personal agency and consciousness through a speculative mode of writing.
This artwork maps the materiality, post-colonial past, contemporary conflict, future uncertainty and potential entangled in this nuclear infrastructure. The research explores how scientific knowledge, political dispute and new myths about the site might be recorded through historiographic communiques to future humans, whose language, culture and technologies will inevitably evolve or regress beyond recognition.
Practice is generated through phenomenological and transversal approaches, in partnership with scientific and citizen observers of human and non-human matterings. I sense and translate infrastructures by meticulously observing and recording their technology, knowledge, communities and struggles. I apply concepts of heterotopia (Foucault, 1984) and microtopia (Bourriard, 1998) in artwork that enables an interactive encounter with fragments from a 'different space’. Using writing, data and images, this microtope narrates a microcosmic, speculative fiction collaged onto microfiche.
Deep Field has made a compelling impact on discourse about nuclear records and knowledge management, nuclear archaeological heritage, and the emerging nuclear humanities. The zine suggests how distributing non-digital fragments might augment other monumental forms of place-marking in the nuclear landscape. Its inscription in unstable, cumbersome microfiche infers uncertainty around communicating radiological inheritance, and the imperative for decisive social action to protect hazardous matter from Earth’s inhabitants.