Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, Sweden

Carl Johan Erikson & Karin Willén

Researchers (2018)

The Final Repository: A Macroscopic Exploration

Borehole HFM 29, borehole HFM 26 and feeding machine for wild boar

Within the field of physics, the macroscopic scale is the measurement scale on which objects or processes are of a size that is measurable and observable for the eye. In relation to phenomena and abstract constructions, the macroscopic scale describes the world as we experience it.

The aim of the project The final repository: a microscopic exploration is to confront our very personal existential concerns and worries regarding the perception of nature which can be said to be prevalent in contemporary civilization. Through artistic methods we wish to problematize and reveal processes and systems that form this current perception of nature. Simultaneously, we seek alternative ways to relate and to act in response to this situation.

The physical starting point for the project is Söderviken, the site where a future and final repository for spent nuclear fuel will be constructed. The final decision will be taken in the next few years by all involved parties. According to the presented plans for the repository, the spent nuclear fuel is meant to be contained by special copper capsules, submerged down to 500 metres below ground level in the bedrock – secured from man and the environment for 100 000 years.

We will confront the site and our own perceptions through different methods. We plan to camp on the site for recurrent periods of time, thus making Söderviken our habitat. During these stays we will perform activities with our own bodies while undertaking everyday activities such as, fishing, monitoring hunting sessions, collect berries and mushrooms in the woods. Sleeping on site may also mean a possibility to approach and experience Söderviken through an alternative or enhanced level of consciousness. To further broaden our study of the site, other individuals will be invited to participate in some of the activities, thus creating conditions and a mental space for earnest dialogue and shared experiences. Local politicians with some influence over the decisions on the repository will be invited, as well as individuals living in the area.

Through this close reading of the site and its wildlife, which comprises all hours of the day and with different levels of consciousness, we will capture photographic material, produce text and documentations of actions and dialogues. This body of work will, together with our unpredictable artistic process, form the base for our compilation, editing and presentation of the project. The outcome will be a book and a seminar held at the Royal Institute of Art with a performance and invited guests.

The format of the book is, to us, an artistic tool and we aim to subversively appropriate the format of ‘reality producing genres’ such as nature books, cookbooks, lifestyle books, among others. This artistic method, the book, enables us to expose our own individual and our civilization’s relationship to nature and the earth’s resources, and it gives us the possibility to reveal alternative ways of understanding the world.

Funded by Seed Box Environmental Humanities Collaboratory, Linköping University.