Friday, February 11, 2011

Slouching Towards Yucca Mountain, a video installation by Eve Andrée Laramée

Interdisciplinary artist and researcher, Eve Andrée Laramée launches a new video-sculpture installation project dealing with environmental issues.

A cast of nineteen fictional characters explore the post-Atomic Age West in this video installation, Slouching Towards Yucca Mountain.

The project explores issues and ironies surrounding the problem of radioactive waste disposal in the United States. The non-linear narrative of Slouching Towards Yucca Mountain involves time travelers who discover these tunnels and question the use and misuse of the so-called “empty wastelands” of the American West.

Using tropes and clichés of the Western film and science fiction film genres, a subtext of environmental exposé unfolds in a suspenseful talk: part fact, part fiction. It is set in an ambiguous time period - unstuck in time - partially 19th, 20th and 21st Century.

The project reveals American values and beliefs about nature, conquest, ownership and the use of land, and environmental justice issues. It does so with a mixture of creativity, humor, and dead seriousness.

Laramée wants the project to draw attention to issues of sustainability, renewable vs. non-renewable energy, waste disposition, geological time, and “cowboy extractionary economics.”

During a residency at the Goldwell Museum 15 miles from Yucca Mountain, thousands of still phtogrpahs and hours of video footage were shot in Death Valley, CA and the ghost towns of Rhyolite and Goldpoint, NV. During the preliminary project development Laramée worked with former students and emerging artists, Courtney “scrap” Wrenn, Chelsea Noggle, Michel Tallichet, Mia Ardito, Emily Montoya and Benji Geary.

In 2002 the U.S. government began developing Yucca Mountain as a deep geological repository for high-level radioactive waste. Due to geological faults, and climate uncertainties, the project was terminated; however a maze of excavated tunnels exist beneath the mountain. The U.S. currently has no master plan for permanent disposal of radioactive waste; it is in temporary storage at hundreds of sites across the country. This environmental problem has hardest hit the indigenous peoples of the Western desert lands. Laramée want to raise public awareness, involve communities and initiate discussions about the problem of radioactive waste on the environment and human health, especially during the current "nuclear renaissance" today when nuclear power is being greenwashed as "clean" and CO2-emmissions free.

As an interdisciplinary artist who has worked at the confluence of art, science and nature for over twenty years, Laramée examines environmental issues and ecological problems through her research and work. She has been making work investigating and whisleblowing atomic age legacy sites since 1982.

Laramée's website:
She may be contacted at: wander(at)earthlink(dot)net

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