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Yesterday FOP listened to a fascinating interview on NPR about the film Into Eternity, directed by Michael Madsen. The film will be screening at the Tribeca Film Festival this week. Get tickets now, while you can.
We are particularly excited to see the film next week, as it takes up a subject we have written about repeatedly here (see FOP post on 2/24/10 and FOP post on 3/9/10 ): the ONKALO deep geologic repository in Finland. Our piece on the ONKALO project, Containing Uncertainty, is part of the Landscapes of Quarantine exhibition at the the Storefront for Art and Architecture, which closes today.
In the NPR interview Mr. Maden reveals complex issues relating to the long term storage of nuclear waste:
- the raw fact that because scientists admit they have no practical solution for the storage of nuclear waste–the issue becomes a moral one rather than a scientific one
- the puzzling fact that scientists in Finland are working with a 100,000 year time frame as they design their repository while scientists in the United States are using a 1,000,000 year time frame
- the disturbing fact that scientists have concluded it is impossible to communicate scientific information about the dangers of nuclear waste sites to the unknowable-from-here humans or post-humans who might live in the deep future
The film will be screened on May 4th for the Finnish Parliament, which has not yet licensed the Onkalo repository for use. That screening is an example of how aesthetic practices such as documentary filmmaking can inform public debate and decision making when “facts” and “data” aren’t adequate to the task (see also Peter Galison’s Secrecy).
Maybe this is the beginning of a new realization that aesthetic practices have the capacity to reach toward peoples-to-come in far distant futures, and offer stories or image-sensations that inform or warn in ways science can’t do alone.
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