Artist talk / Spectral Landscapes
- Abstract: My current artistic work takes place under the umbrella of Spectral Landscapes where I investigate radioactivity and the landscape. Since spring 2020 I conduct intense fieldwork in Finland. I am exploring sites with heightened natural radioactivity, originating from the decay of natural uranium and thorium mineralisations with some of those places being potential future sites of mining. There I collect data via custom-made sensors and software which allow me to portray the gamma radiation fields as bodies that protrude from the radioactive base-rock as intricate but intrinsic features of the landscape. Invisible but present, the constitution of these bodies is part of the innate processes of our planet in deep time. They conform with continental drift, the biogenic accumulation of oxygen in our atmosphere, the folding of mountain ranges, and their weathering and they follow the carvings of geophysical forms which produce the features of the landscapes we observe around us. I refer to these bodies as spectral because their presence is ghostly and can only be detected via extra-sensorial means, but then they are also spectral because they are fields of light, of photons, although located in a part of the spectrum not visible to the human eye. At the same time, Finland is building Onkalo, the first permanent deep geological spent nuclear fuel repository. It will be backfilled until 2120 and engineering claims that Onkalo can hold back the nuclear waste for the next one hundred thousand years, traveling into a deep future yet to become. Two stories connected by their materiality cover the full scale of planetary time. What can we learn from deep time for the present and a possible deep future, what about questions of intergenerational justice, is there a politic of scales, and what are possible artistic strategies to address such questions?
- Biography: Erich Berger is an artist, curator, and cultural worker based in Helsinki. His focus is on the intersection of art, science, and technology with a critical take on how they transform society and the world at large. Throughout his practice, he has explored the materiality of information, and information and technology as artistic material. His interest in issues of deep time and hybrid ecology led him to work with geological processes, radiogenic phenomena, and their socio-political implications in the here and now. Berger moves between visual arts and science in an area that he also develops with his work at the Bioart Society in Helsinki. Berger has exhibited widely in museums, galleries, and major media-art events in Europe and worldwide.
- MACBA - Convent dels Àngels
Plaça dels Àngels, 5, Barcelona
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