Wilde Möhre, Falsche Kamille, Bitterkraut

library for radioactive afterlife (plant cycle)

“Wilde Möhre, Falsche Kamille, Bitterkraut” (Wild Carrot, False Chamomile, Ox Tongue) are part of a landscape that has been in a process of constant change since 1946. The overburden from the mining industry by Wismut SDAG (now GmbH) created radioactive spoil heaps and lakes that are being rehabilitated by various means: plants accumulate contaminants from the soil. Geo-textiles are used to slowly dry out the contaminated mud lakes and bind the radioactive particles. The banked mounds are returned to the earth bit by bit and over many years between the 1990’s to the 2040’s and longer.

These continual changes to the volumes in the landscape and their afterlife are the conceptual starting point for Susanne Kriemann’s cycle “Pechblende / Library for radioactive Afterlife” (since 2014) of which the photographic series “Wild Carrot, False Chamomile, Ox Tongue” is part of.

The images produced document a situation through a visual language that plays with the artistic device of trompe l’oeil, while at the same time setting up analogies with our experience of everything that is radioactively contaminated.

Since radioactivity is “monstrous, because it is inaudible, invisible, odorless, and intangible, which, as Martin Repohl demonstrates, categorically alters our relationship to the world even when it is not radioactive: Now we can no longer see or determine if a fragment of the world – for example a landscape, a flower, or an apple – is toxic and deadly, or harmless and beautiful.” (1)

Over the years, Kriemann has developed a radically expanded idea of photography that investigates new systems for registering events and geological periods.

(1) Hartmut Rosa, Unverfügbarkeit, trans. A. Booth (Wien/Salzburg: Residenz Verlag, 2018)

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