Day 4: Commemorating nuclear fear

Day 4: Commemorating nuclear fear

Day 3 of a five-day workshop into the problem of nuclear harm.

Sponsored by the 2016 O’Donnell Endowed Chair in Global Studies.

November 24-28, 2016, at Whitman College in the United States.

12:00-17:00 (open to the public)
Monday, September 26, 2016
Maxey Museum for Man and Nature, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA

To commemorate the U.N. International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, three short-films will be screened on-demand that examine the continued pain, suffering and vulnerability of atomic survivor communities in Australia.

A selection of photographic and ceramic works by N.A.J. Taylor will be displayed alongside the screenings. The exhibition, Nuclear Deferral, will remain open from Monday, September 26, through Wednesday, September 28, from 12:00-17:00.

On-demand film screenings


Nuclear Deferral is an exhibition of N.A.J. Taylor’s photographic images from inside the world’s first nuclear waste repository in remote Finland, which have been variously printed on archival paper and stoneware ceramic. The effect of the works calls into question the temporal enormity of nuclear harms, which routinely exceed 100,000 years. For instance, the Navajo think in terms of seven generations. Many indigenous Australian cultures, in terms of 100 generations. Yet, the problem of nuclear harm persists for 30,000 generations.

A thought experiment

Ask yourselves, if you were tasked with commemorating nuclear fear, what would you do? What (if anything) do you fear? Where, how, and why would you commemorate it? Which materials or voices would you call upon, and which would you leave out?

Then ask: will you organise such an event next year?

Preparatory text/s

N.A.J. Taylor, ‘Curatorial statement for Nuclear Deferral and Commemorating Nuclear Fear, Maxey Museum, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA, U.S., September 26-28, 2016.

John O’Brian, ‘Introduction: Through a Radioactive Lens’ in John O’Brian (ed.) Camera Atomica: Photographing the Nuclear World, Black Dog Publishing Limited, 2014, pp.10-19.

Alternative text/s

Peter Galison and Robb Moss, Containment, Galison and Moss Production, 2015. [1 hour 21 minutes]

Isco Hashimoto (dir.), ‘1945-1998‘, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation, YouTube, July 6, 2012. [14 minutes]

Michael Madsen (2010) (dir.), Into Eternity: A Film for the Future, Films Transit International, 2010. [1 hour 15 minutes]

Nevil Shute, On the Beach, Ballantine Books, New York: NY, 1957. [The book was made into a film in both 1959 and 2000, although only the 1959 version is worth appraising.]

Gregory K. Young, Australian Atomic Confessions, New South Wales Film & Television Office, 2005. [50 minutes]