Night Air: Nuclear Unknowns
On Tuesday 22 June, Sonic Acts continues its Night Air series of online transmissions with Nuclear Unknowns, moderated by Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou. Nuclear Unknowns takes us down the complex path of radioactive pollution, exploring the subject’s ecological, artistic and geopolitical tangles. During an evening of talks, screenings and performances, artists and curators will discuss different strategies to grapple with nuclear energy’s uneven and calamitous aftermath.
Beginning at 20:00 CEST, this live online transmission features talks by artists and researchers Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou, Agnès Villette and Jason Waite, while the films Crossroads (1976) by Bruce Conner, Uranium Hex(1987) by Sandra Lahire and We Have Always Known the Wind’s Direction (2019) by Inas Halabi will be shown alongside the panel. Audience members are invited to join in the conversations via the live-chat Q&A.
Night Air is a series of online transmissions that aims to make pollution visible by bringing forth the various side-effects of modernity: from colonial exploitation of people and resources to perpetual inequalities brought about by the destruction of the environment and common land – in other words, destructive capitalist practices that shape both our environment and human-nonhuman relations.
**Night air is a myth with its origins in miasma theory (from the Greek for ‘pollution’). The theory held that smelly air from decaying organic matter caused illness. The smell would intensify and worsen by night, so night air became synonymous with poisonous and noxious vapours that could even cause pandemics such as cholera or plague. Only with developments in medicine and various scientific endeavours around the London cholera epidemic in the mid-1800s, did germs replace the ‘unhealthy fog’ as the culprit for diseases. And now, even though the idea has been abandoned, night air still echoes in words such as malaria (‘bad air’ in Italian), which actually connects air-borne poison with flying pests such as the disease-carrying mosquitoes.