Radioactive Materials & Art [makeup event]

Written by: Laura Chong

Wow! When art meets science, it really opens up your mind to social issues in a way that you have never imagined.

Artwork painted using synthetic uranium underneath charcoal

This particular art talk on radioactivity and the landscape made me realize the severity of radioactive materials on our landscape.

Before attending this art talk, I was unaware of the issues of radioactivity. The picture above shows a landscape that is lost. This makes me sad because such beautiful landscape should never have been destroyed.

Another artwork that shows the landscape of New Mexico

This other artwork shows the landscape of New Mexico. With a yellowish green hue, the landscape looks polluted. This feels like the artist is trying to portray what uranium dumping is doing to our earth.

The most interesting part of the artworks are the difference between the graphs. The first artwork shows a graph that spans over a million years, while the second artwork shows a graph that spans over a hundred years. The graph represents how the radioactive materials are losing mass and how the subatomic particles are trying to find a stable state to make it no longer radioactive.

I like how the artists incorporated graphs into the artworks because it gives more “weight” to the severity of the issue being discussed. It makes us think and feel more about the social issue.

The art talk ended with a discussion on the Open Care Project, where we think about “what if everyone has their own radioactive waste storage? what if radioactive waste becomes a personal responsibility?” The radioactive waste could become a jewelry, that can only become wearable after 5 million years. It is certainly a very interesting thought, and I imagine a totally different world. A world where there are no uranium dumps and a cleaner world for us to live in. A utopia.

Overall, this art talk was really meaningful and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It introduced me to how art can assist in communicating social issues and let the audience ponder about major issues that we were previously unaware of.

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