(symposium presentation)
'Space, Waste & Temporality panel', Goldsmiths Postgraduate Symposium 2012

Chair: Tim Hickman

Tally Yaacobi-Gross
Ho, what a waste! -- An investigation into the agency of physical and virtual waste

Andy Weir
Georhythmic Allure and Contagious Stuff: 5 Figures for Deep Time Aesthetics

Carolina Rito
Erosion, a durational encounter

William Wheeler
Evaporation of meaning? Narratives surrounding the Aral Sea disaster


The deep geological repository is designed to store waste securely deep underground. Planned to provide long-term isolation and containment without future maintenance, none as yet function to store high-level nuclear waste. As such, the spaces sketch an ongoing and incomplete struggle to demarcate humans from contagious materials that would eventually destroy them. At the same time, they necessarily allude to a deep time span exterior to that of the human, acting as a figure for twisting this inassimilable ‘outside’ into experience. I am interested particularly in these sites as a form of aesthetic practice, and in related artworks as figures for paradoxical manifestation of the non-manifest. This will be explored here through five specific concepts employing deep time: as diagram; as readymade; as thing; as stuff; and as rhythm, proposing that they can tend to exposure to the real through art practice.

Waste storage research, in this sense, can be understood as a kind of mad contact with the inherent indifference of deep time. Practices of burrowing and plastification act as a projection and externalisation of paranoia, driven by, outlasted by and absorbed by nuclear waste into monstrous not entirely human cartographies of thought. While not setting out to mathematicize deep time, it is alluded to indirectly as necessary threshold point of this process. I am interested specifically in the concept and affect of this allusion, and the point of exposure to deep time - understood as a duration of being both open to and opened by doses of immersion in contagious materials. Drawing on this exonoetic outburst spiralled back as intrusion, art-thought is proposed at the tangled horizons of unthought, duration of exposure to the open and face of its meltdown.