Location: Zoom Webinar, 14 May 2020

(Re)Placing Chernobyl

Location: Zoom Webinar

(Re)Placing Chernobyl will zoom in on the popular HBO miniseries “Chernobyl” (2019) to explore the politics of aesthetics, the power of TV mediation of scientific expertise and the wide-ranging impacts of this cultural representation of the disaster. In the context of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, questions of public trust in science and the role of scientific experts in governance have returned to the forefront.

The discussion roundtable will gather prominent scholars, artists and cultural producers to unpack the complexities that emerged in process of staging the Chernobyl disaster in the twenty first century. How could one explain the unexpected popularity of the series? What kinds of historical narratives informed the miniseries and what stories were left out? Can “Chernobyl” help us understand the issues that the nuclear industry is facing today? The discussion will also explore the social, political and cultural consequences of the “Chernobyl” miniseries themselves. Nuclear tourism is booming in Ukraine, but also in the Lithuanian filming locations, where the ex-soviet Ignalina nuclear power plant “performed” the Chernobyl disaster and districts of Vilnius stood in for Pripyat. Do nuclear cultural heritage and nuclear tourism enhance public awareness and should they be promoted? Is there a risk of displacing the actual consequences of the catastrophe with captivating cultural imaginaries? In all, the discussion will seek to explore the relationship between culture, imagination and science and how these shape the legacy of Chernobyl.


Speakers


Simon Evans, Head of the Chernobyl Shelter Fund at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Michael N. Goddard, Reader in Film, Television and Moving Image at the University of Westminster.

Paul Josephson, Professor of History, Colby College, USA.

Tatiana Kasperski, PhD in Politics and researcher at Pompeu Fabra University, Spain.

Johan Renck, Emmy Award winning (2019) film director - for his work on the mini-series “Chernobyl”.

Vitaly Strigunkov, visual artist, Lithuania.

Simon Watson, Senior Lecturer in Robotics Systems, the University of Manchester, UK.

Organisers

Egle Rindzeviciute, Associate Professor of Criminology and Sociology, Kingston University London

Alena Ledeneva, Professor of Politics and Society, and Peter Zusi, Associate Professor in Czech with Slovak Literature, FRINGE Centre for the Study of Social and Cultural Complexity, the UCL

Juste Kostikovaite, Lithuanian Cultural Attache in the UK

Supported by

Kingston University

UCL Fringe

Lithuanian Culture Institute

Lithuanian Embassy in the United Kingdom

Go Vilnius

This is Tomorrow

Schedule

  • Tue 25 October 2022

    Art Night / performance commission by Tai Shani at Fabric, London

    Art Night and the Museum of London are pleased to announce the presentation of a new performance commission by Tai Shani at Fabric, London this Autumn, at 8pm on 25th October. The performance will take the form of a chamber play and is Shani’s first major performance project since DC: Semiramis for which she was nominated and collectively won the Turner Prize in 2019. It will be one of her most ambitious works to date. The collaboration is a precursor to Art Night’s transition to a national, biennial contemporary art festival, with the first new model festival planned for 2023 and to be announced in the Autumn. This work by Tai Shani will be re-staged for the 2023 festival.

    The play will premiere at London’s iconic nightclub Fabric, adjacent to West Smithfield, the Museum of London’s soon-to-be new home. The special “one-night only” show will be broadcast live on digital channels to enable access for a global audience with the assistance of media partner This is Tomorrow. My bodily remains, your bodily remains, and all the bodily remains that ever were, and ever will be. (Down, skin, pelt, vellum, alert tangled roots, subcutaneous flesh, subterranean blind life) draws upon Smithfield’s history as one of London’s earliest execution sites and oscillates between somatic histories of political evil and love as an emancipatory power.

    The collaboration also celebrates the Museum of London’s impending relocation to West Smithfield and follows the launch of the Museum of London Docklands’ major exhibition Executions, which traces the history of public executions from the 12th to the 19th century.

    My bodily remains, your bodily remains, and all the bodily remains that ever were, and ever will be. (Down, skin, pelt, vellum, alert tangled roots, subcutaneous flesh, subterranean blind life) is inspired by various sources; classic works of literature including Destroy, She Said by Marguerite Duras, the writing of scholars including Jackie Wang and works by filmmakers such as Jacques Rivette. Shani’s commission is a poetic meditation on various historical resistance movements and groups, the spiritual dimensions of anti-supremacism, intersectional queer feminism, communism and revolutionary thinking to recognise the emancipatory power of love and pleasure as a catalyst for radical change.

    Typical of Shani’s practice, My bodily remains, your bodily remains, and all the bodily remains that ever were, and ever will be will deploy a skillful interplay of dialogue and narration. Shani will use recurring moods and motifs to explore eroticism, dark powers, mystical experiences, feminist theory and the theme of Revolution – embodied in this performance as a ghost.

    The play will feature an original live score composed by Shani’s long term collaborator Maxwell Sterling and Richard Fearless (Death in Vegas) alongside digital animations by Adam Sinclair also Shani’s long term collaborator. The play will also feature jewellery and set design by Shani.

    The commission is accompanied by a dedicated creative engagement programme developed in collaboration with All Change led by arts educator and creative producer Dhiyandra Natalegawa. The creative engagement programme will consist of a series of participant-led workshops and creative outcomes, shaped around the key themes and creative approaches in Shani’s work. The project is part of All Change’s B Creative programme: an arts activism programme for young women by young women, working with inspiring artists.