UB ART GALLERY, CFA
Buffalo, New York
Hot Spots is a multi-media exhibition investigating the production of radioactive waste and its long-term effects on the environment and its inhabitants. The exhibition includes painting, drawing, sculpture, video, photography, and installations that explore the wide-ranging challenges posed by this fluid subject. Themes include rendering the invisible visible, environmental destruction, environmental racism and Native American sovereignty, speculative futures, and the complex linguistic puzzle created by the need to develop means to communicate about a material that will be dangerous to life for hundreds of thousands of years. The exhibition examines the history, present, and future of radioactive materials, with an emphasis on health and environmental risks associated with the lack of short or long term planning for its storage or disposal.
Radioactive materials are the byproduct of many industries including mining, military, medicine, energy, and transportation. They can enter the environment at any stage, beginning with extraction and continuing through refining, use, and ultimately disposal. The immediate risks fall into three broad categories: national ambivalence regarding the industries involved in production, the global absence of a strategy to dispose of or store the radioactive vestiges of those productions, and the escalation of the threat of nuclear war. This material has destructive forces that permanently alter landscapes (and/ or ecologies), poisoning inhabitants for generations. Unlike the monumentality of mushroom clouds or the dramatic landscape-alteration of open pit mining, radioactivity is banal. Often stored in large tanks, it can stand along the side of a road, in an open field, or travel on the back of a truck across interstates without generating notice or concern. Hot Spots is positioned to demonstrate the insidious nature of radioactive material and, with an activist spirit, not only expose problems, but also speculate about possible solutions. While referencing the state of global radioactive material production, Hot Spots is primarily national in scope, with an emphasis on the context specificity of the Buffalo-Niagara area.
Artists include Naomi Bebo, Jeremy Bolen, Michael Brill and Safdar Abidi, Edward Burtynsky, Erich Berger and Mari Keto, Ludovico Centis, Elizabeth Demaray, Don’t Follow the Wind (collective composed of Chim↑Pom (initiators), Kenji Kubota, Eva and Franco Mattes, and Jason Waite), Nina Elder, Isao Hashimoto, Adele Henderson, Abbey Hepner, Eve Andrée Laramée, Cynthia Mandansky and Angelika Brudniak, Amie Siegel, Robert del Tredici, and Will Wilson.