Nuclear Waste Event

The Nuclear Waste Weeks are a four-part series of events, jointly organised by the EHC, VU, Anna Volkmar (PhD candidate at LUCAS, Leiden University) and Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou (PhD candidate at CRAL, EHESS), taking place during the months of October and November 2017 in Amsterdam. Nuclear waste is one of the major unsolved challenges of our time, raising an array of questions, from the possibilities and politics of storage and disposal, over deep time, to toxic sovereignty. In this series, we will grapple with the environmental, aesthetico-political and ethical dilemmas that emerge from the out-of-scale temporalities induced by radioactive matter that haunt our own era but also countless generations to come.

Nuclear Waste Event
Friday 6 October 2017, 15-17hrs, drinks after
VU Main Building, room 14A-33
For catering reasons, please register for the event using the form below.

Jantine Schröder, who is affiliated with the Belgian Research Center in Mol, will reflect on the idea of a final closure in the context of geological disposal sites, using the Belgian debate on nuclear waste as an example. Sven Lütticken is a lecturer in art history and criticism at the VU and will talk about artistic responses to the multifaceted problem of nuclear waste.

Jantine Schröder
Geological disposal of radioactive waste as a socio-enviro-technical challenge

Artist’s impression of the Belgian geological disposal concept

Geological disposal (GD) is a technology proposed to manage high-level, long-lived radioactive waste by containing and isolating it in the deep underground for as long as possible. What is particular about this technology, is that it is presented as a “passive” and “closed” technology, functioning independently of the social and living environment. Throughout this presentation, we challenge this conception of geological disposal by describing it not only as a enviro-technical experiment, but also as a social experiment. In order to better understand this description and to explore how GD could be addressed accordingly, we elaborate the idea of social experimentation with the notion of co-production and the analytical tools of delegation, prescription and network as developed by actor-network theory. We end the presentation by proposing a concrete example of what an environmental humanities approach could bring to geological disposal research.

Jantine Schröder has a Master in Philosophy with additional degrees in International Relations & Conflict Prevention and Sustainable Development & Human Ecology. Since 2008 she works at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK-CEN, on the Programme of Integration of Social Aspects into Nuclear Research. From 2011 to 2014 she also worked within the research team Society and Environment at University of Antwerp. Her research focuses on the complexities of the long term management of high level radioactive waste, and notably investigates the co-shaping of the technical, the social and the natural in the development of geological disposal facilities.

Her work is theoretically based in science & technology studies, philosophy, ethics, sustainability and responsible research and innovation studies, and methodologically driven by approaches that enable interaction, between fundamental and applied research, between disciplines, approaches, interests, perspectives. Jantine conducts research on her own initiative within SCK-CEN and is involved in projects commissioned by the OECD NEA, the European Commission, the Belgian government and local stakeholder groups.

Sven Lütticken
Ambivalent Responses: The Avant-Garde in the Nuclear Regime

Image: “Bum – Manifesto Nucleare” by Enrico Baj, 1952

The avant-garde was deeply interested in invisible forces and a new vision of the world. This included a fascination for X-rays and nuclear physics: the subatomic as sur-reality. After Hiroshima this fascination persisted, but it was complemented and countered by critical responses and (in some cases) by the all-out rejection of nuclear technology. This talk traces the oscillation between enthusiasm for the nuclear and a critique of the devastating effects and long-term consequences of radiation.

 Sven Lütticken teaches art history at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (among others a course on nuclear aesthetics this semester) and theory at the Dutch Art Institute, Arnhem. He is the author of the books Secret Publicity: Essays on Contemporary Art (2005), Idols of the Market: Modern iconoclasm and the Fundamentalist Spectacle (2009), History in Motion: Time in the Age of the Moving Image (2013) and Cultural Revolution: Aesthetic Practice after Autonomy (2017). Currently he is editing the reader Art and Autonomy, which will be published later this year by Afterall.

Please register for the event here: