2019 - Ongoing
In rural central France, vast amounts of nuclear waste will buried deep underground, in what is now viewed as the safest way to dispose of it. The radioactive waste hidden here will potentially remain dangerous for one million years. The secureness of the site must therefore, last forever, and so should its memory; ensuring that future generations do not accidentally, or through curiosity, disturb its contents. Languages have a habit of disappearing. Signs and symbols can be interpreted in a multitude of ways. Communities, environments, landscapes shift over thousands of years. Scientists, anthropologists, archeologists, architects, philosophers and semioticians have all been trying to answer the question of how you leave a warning that future societies can understand and respect? Creating a culture of memory around burial sites is seen as one answer.
Making photographs around the research sites and potential locations for burying said remains, and working with a combination of documentation, construction and manipulation, I aim to question notions of “permanence” and the “ephemeral”; examining the materials of memory and our fallible structures for preservation and record keeping.
Work initiated through Wellcome Trust commission, and some text courtesy of & copyright Helen Gordon.