Focus Theme: Markers
2015-18



Purpose 

The Earth is marked by the nuclear age. This is true whether we consider the history of the nuclear age, or its future. Looking back through history, a small number of scholars have taken up Paul Crutzen’s revised proposal for the origins of the Anthropocene epoch as coinciding with the dawn of the nuclear age. “Like radiation medicine administered to a patient to make the internal system visible to doctors”, says Robert Jacobs, “the movement of radionuclides through the ecosystem revealed a systemic interconnectedness that had been previously invisible.” Elsewhere, Myra Hird has speculated as to whether the marker of the Anthropocene is in fact its waste sites, such as that produced by the 1945 Trinity test and its infrastructure. Much work remains to be done in the coming months and years to examine the veracity of Crutzen’s hypothesis, as well as the direction others such as Jacobs and Hird have variously taken it.

Looking deep into the future, many are considering the task of communicating the problem of nuclear harm to the next 30,000 generations. Permanent waste repositories, for instance, are intended to be sealed and passively monitored (without human intervention) for the next 100,000 or more years. To avoid intrusion there is a debate as to how, if at all, these sites should to be communicated—by the establishment of specialist archives and “markers”. That is, what symbols, messages, images, and warnings might humans responsible for such markings use today in order to communicate to beings 10s and 100s of thousands of years into the future? Will these intruders listen to—or even comprehend—the messages delivered by present-day humans at all? The question of nuclear markers is therefore an open one. And for this reason, it was the inaugural focus theme of the Archive of Nuclear Harm.

Activities from 2016 through 2018 have included four exhibitions, a film series that has taken place on three continents, the continued acquisition of physical items along with their digitisation, as well as the design and delivery of an intensive workshop in the Nuclear Humanities.


Exhibitions 

N.A.J. Taylor, Nuclear Deferral, “Postcards from the Anthropocene: Unsettling the Geopolitics of Representation” symposium at the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, June 22-24, 2017. [LINK]

N.A.J. Taylor, Nuclear Deferral, Maxey Museum for Man and Nature, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA, United States, September 26-28, 2016. [LINK]

N.A.J. Taylor with Andrew Hustwaite, Nuclear Deferral, c3 Contemporary Art Space, Melbourne, Australia, August 17-September 11, 2016. Curated by N.A.J. Taylor. [LINK]

N.A.J. Taylor, Nuclear Deferral, Memory of Mankind, Hallstadt, Austria, August 17, 2016-12,016.


Film Screenings

Paul Brown et al’s 10 Minutes to Midnight (2015), Department of Australian Indigenous Studies, The University of Melbourne, VIC, Australia, October 1, 2018.

Paul Brown et al’s, Ngurini (Searching) (2015), Department of Australian Indigenous Studies, The University of Melbourne, VIC, Australia, October 1, 2018.

Lynette Wallworth’s Collisions (2015), Department of Australian Indigenous Studies, The University of Melbourne, VIC, Australia, October 1, 2018.

Paul Brown et al’s 10 Minutes to Midnight (2015), Department of Australian Indigenous Studies, The University of Melbourne, VIC, Australia, October 9, 2017.

Paul Brown et al’s, Ngurini (Searching) (2015), Department of Australian Indigenous Studies, The University of Melbourne, VIC, Australia, October 9, 2017.

Lynette Wallworth’s Collisions (2015), Department of Australian Indigenous Studies, The University of Melbourne, VIC, Australia, October 2, 2017.

Lynette Wallworth’s Collisions (2015), University of Montréal, Montréal, Canada, March 11, 2017.

Paul Brown et al’s 10 Minutes to Midnight (2015), Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada, March 11, 2017.

Paul Brown et al’s, Ngurini (Searching) (2015), Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada, March 11, 2017.

Lynette Wallworth’s Collisions (2015), Chamber, Brunswick VIC, Australia, January 26, 2017.

Paul Brown et al’s 10 Minutes to Midnight (2015), Chamber, Brunswick VIC, Australia, January 26, 2017.

Paul Brown et al’s Ngurini (Searching) (2015), Chamber, Brunswick VIC, Australia, January 26, 2017.

Lynette Wallworth’s Collisions (2015), Maxey Museum, Whitman College, Washington, U.S., September 26, 2016.

Paul Brown et al’s 10 Minutes to Midnight (2015), Maxey Museum, Whitman College, Washington, U.S., September 26, 2016.

Paul Brown et al’s Ngurini (Searching) (2015), Maxey Museum, Whitman College, Washington, U.S., September 26, 2016.

Peter Kuran’s Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie (1995), Chamber, Brunswick, Australia, August 29, 2016.

Mori Masaki’s Barefoot Gen: Part Two (1983), Chamber, Brunswick VIC, Australia, August 9, 2016.

Mori Masaki’s Barefoot Gen: Part One (1983), Chamber, Brunswick VIC, Australia, August 6, 2016.

Mark Cousin and Mogwai’s Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise (2015), Chamber, Brunswick VIC, Australia, April 26, 2016.

Paul Johannessen, Jeffrey Jousan and Ivan Kovac’s Women of Fukushima (2012), Chamber, Brunswick VIC, Australia, March 12, 2016.

Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark’s Let Them Believe (2011), Chamber, Brunswick VIC, Australia, April 26, 2016.


Articles 

N.A.J. Taylor, ‘Manifesto for an Archive of Nuclear Harm’, Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, Fall 2018. [PDF available on request]


Book Chapters 

N.A.J. Taylor, ‘Nuclear deferral’, in Livia Monnet and Peter C. van Wyck (eds.), Toxic Immanence: Nuclear Legacies, Futures, and the Place of Twenty-First Century Nuclear Environmental Humanities, McGill-Queens University Press, Montréal, Quebec, Canada, 2018. [PDF available on request]


Delivered Papers
 

N.A.J. Taylor, ‘Towards a narrative nuclear politics: From Trinity to Monte Bello, Emu and Maralinga’. Paper presented at the Telling the Stories of Radiation Exposure Workshop, Environmental Arts and Humanities, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, June 22, 2018. [PDF available on request]

N.A.J. Taylor, ‘Marking nuclear harm: Atomic art for the Anthropocene’. Paper presented at the From Trinity to Fukushima and Beyond: New Approaches to Nuclear Culture and the Nuclear Arts in the 20th and 21st Century, University of Montréal, Montréal, Canada, March 10, 2017. [PDF available on request]


> Read about the current Focus Theme: TBA
2019-21

Project Director

N.A.J. Taylor
University of Melbourne, Australia


International Advisory Board

Cecilia Asberg
Linköping University, Sweden 

Ellise Barkley
Queensland University of Technology, Australia  

Shampa Biswas
Whitman College, United States 

Roland Bleiker
University of Queensland, Australia

Mick Broderick
Murdoch University, Australia 

Adam Broinowski
Australian National University, Australia

Paul Brown
University of New South Wales, Australia

Julia Bryan-Wilson 
University of California at Berkeley, United States  

Anthony Burke
Australian Defence Force Academy at UNSW, Australia 

Joseph A. Camilleri
La Trobe University, Australia

Robert Del Tredici
Atomic Photographers Guild, Canada

Jenny Edkins 
The University of Manchester, England 

Richard A. Falk 
Princeton University, United States 

Stefanie Fishel
Alabama University, United States

Maja Fowkes and Reuben Fowkes
Central European University, Hungary 

Jacob Darwin Hamblin
Oregon State University, United States

Michael Hamel-Green
Victoria University, Australia

Julian Hewit
Media Arts Lawyers, Australia 

Myra Hird 
Queen’s University, Canada

Robert Jacobs
Hiroshima City University, Japan 

Karena Kalmbach
Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

John Kinsella
Curtin University, Australia 

Redi Koobak
University of Bergen, Norway 

Peter Kuran
Atom Central, United States 

Isabel Lane
Yale University, United States

Eve Andrée Laramée
Pace University, United States

L.H.M. Ling
The New School, United States

Livia Monnet
University of Montreal, Canada

John O’Brian
University of British Columbia, Canada

Trisha Thompson Pritikin
Consequences of Radiation Exposure Musem, United States 

Peter Rickwood
Atomic Reporters, Austria

Susan Schuppli
Goldsmiths at University College London, England

Martha Smith-Norris
University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Robert Williams
University of Cumbria, England

Peter C. van Wyck
Concordia University, Canada