HADES Field Research Trip

Nuclear Culture Field Research: HADES Belgium
Arts Catalyst & Z33 House for Contemporary Arts, Belgium
11 – 13 July 2016

Members of the Nuclear Culture Research Group visited to HADES, Belgium’s underground research lab for geologic disposal of high level radioactive waste. The research trip was organised in partnership with Z33, Hasselt, and ONDRAF / NIRAS the Belgian Agency for radioactive waste and enriched fissile materials. Artists Kota Takeuchi, Andy Weir, David Griffiths and curators Ils Huygens and Ele Carpenter spent three days visiting Z33 in Hasselt, meeting with our partners at ONDRAF / NIRAS and SCK-CEN going into the underground research laboratory. The field research trip is part of the Z33 research programme on Time.

Constructed in 1980 the HADES lab is 255m underground and built in a deep clay for the purpose of researching the possibility of geological disposal in clay. Like underground laboratories in France, Sweden and Japan, the research lab is not intended to be used as a final repository for radioactive waste. Hades is also the Greek God of the underworld.

Fukushima, Japan

In July 2014 The Actinium exhibition took place alongside the SIAF2014 Sapporo International Art Festival in Japan. The exhibition present work by  James Acord (USA), Shuji Akagi (J), Chim↑Pom (J), Crowe & Rawlinson (UK/De), Karen Kramer (USA/UK), Cécile Massart (Belgium), Eva & Franco Mattes (USA), Thomson & Craighead (UK/Scotland). Curated by Ele Carpenter in partnership with The Arts Catalyst and S-Air. The project included the Actinium forum and field trips to nuclear sites, bringing  together artists, researchers and activists investigating nuclear culture from the UK and Japan.

The field trip to Fukushima City and Prefecture included artists Jon Thomson, Alison Craighead, Karen Kramer and Susan Schuppli, with Curator Ele Carpenter, Arts Catalyst Director Nicola Triscott, Producer Gillean Dickie, and S-Air Programme Director Kyoko Tachibana. We were guided by artists Shugi Akagi, Kota Takeuchi and Mura from Nomad.



HMS Courageous, Plymouth, UK

In 2013 the Nuclear Culture field trip to the decommissioned nuclear powered submarine HMS Courageous at Devonport Naval Base, Plymouth included Nick Crowe & Ian Rawlinson, Susan Schuppli, Ele Carpenter and Lucia Garavaglia.

LLW Ltd, Cumbria, UK

In 2013 Ele Carpenter traveled with artists Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead to the Low Level Waste Ltd site, near the village of Drigg in Cumbria. Like many nuclear sites, the acronym title of the site fails to fulfill the role of a proper name, and instead the site is commonly known by the name of the local town or village. Whilst the absence of a proper name could be a strategy of nuclear invisibility, it has the adverse affect of tarnishing the locale as a nuclear site. The same problem occurs with nuclear power stations and underground research laboratories.