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Cold War LegaciesSystems, Theory, Aesthetics$
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John Beck and Ryan Bishop

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474409483

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474409483.001.0001

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Shifting the Nuclear Imaginary: Art and the Flight from Nuclear Modernity

Shifting the Nuclear Imaginary: Art and the Flight from Nuclear Modernity

(p.116) Chapter 6 Shifting the Nuclear Imaginary: Art and the Flight from Nuclear Modernity
Cold War Legacies

Ele Carpenter

Edinburgh University Press

Drawing on Mackenzie & Spinardi’s research into the potential un-invention of nuclear weapons through the loss of tacit knowledge, this chapter explores a range of artistic responses to the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster. Mackenzie & Spinardi’s work on nuclear weapons design, testing and computing, allows us to think about a new mode of nuclear aesthetics, providing conceptual frameworks relevant to contemporary art practice and discourse such as: the contested nature of sameness in the repetition of objects; the importance of the slowness of tacit knowledge; of the human eye, making and learning with others; the limits of code; and the erosion of nuclear belief systems. Recent artistic practices in Japan and internationally, explore counterfactual possibilities across time; where aspects of nuclear culture are made visible or possible in a world where apocalyptic scenarios are streamed live. The responsibility for nuclear materials is shifting from state weapons production to the privatized nuclear energy industry, and into the public realm of nuclear accidents and public consultation on long-term waste disposal. Artists are concerned with how the networks are interrupted, looped, mapped, slowed down for reflection on how things are made, how stories are told, and how knowledge is consolidated.

Keywords:   Fukushima Dai-ichi, tacit knowledge, nuclear power, artistic practice, nuclear accidents

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