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Sarah Strachan

Beyondness, 2022

This work is motivated by re-sensing the nuclear threat first experienced as a child growing up during the cold war.


An aperture in a rusty girder provides a glimpse, captured through a contingent video on a mobile phone, of atomic by-products juxtaposed with the remote beauty of the site at Orford Ness (National Trust, 2021). The provisional ceramic viewfinder makes reference to the framing of our own perception but also the integral role of photography within nuclear research, the formation of an accepting public, and resistance through art and journalism.


Nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear war were acknowledged by political philosopher Hannah Arendt (2007 p.109-110) as: “... fundamental experiences of our age, and if we ignore them it is as if we never lived in the world that is our world". As contemporary art historians Claudette Lauzon and John O'Brien (2021) postulate in their recent book: What does it mean to see the world 'through post-atomic eyes’? How do the dangers posed by atomic energy and nuclear warfare shape our responses to other imminent threats? And how might we understand the ‘slow violence’ (Nixon, 2011) of some of the most pressing issues of sustainability, such as toxic drift and climate change, as by products of the atomic age? 

MA Fine Art

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