While secrecy and the sublime are points of entry for investigating the planetary consequences of radioactive fallout, it is essential to give voice to those (human and non-human) protagonists suppressed by political systems of deafening power. All energy is both cosmic and dirty. Yet in order to transition from a system based on depletion to one that nourishes, we can look to and learn from the quiet rebellions, silent protests, and tender acts that have dismantled monolithic narratives of nuclear power and forged new strategies for reimagining and remaking our many worlds.

Half-Life is a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and the Art Institute of Chicago within the context of its exhibition “Static Range” by Himali Singh Soin.

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9 essays
While the world tackles a myriad of calamities—a pandemic, floods, wildfires, hurricanes, famine, systemic racism, structural inequality, and police violence, among others—the possibility of nuclear disaster inexorably returns to arrest our attention.
Livia Krohn Miller
September 2021: I find myself in a dusty corner of New Mexico to see one of the wonders of the American West: the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, New Mexico, the United States’ only deep geologic long-lived radioactive waste repository.
Idinthakarai is one of many fishing villages, hemmed in with coconut trees, which dot the Tamil Nadu coastline. Out here, the sea, the church, and other people’s lives are almost always within earshot. The village’s quaint appearance, however, belies Idinthakarai’s status as the epicenter of India’s longest anti-nuclear struggle.
Camille Georgeson-Usher
When confronted with ambiguity, it is often hard to allow a specific identifier to take hold, as it can be difficult to find out what that is. The perception that many have of something they don’t know—like Rym’s identity and origins—has so often in her travels lifted to the surface as confusion, the need to name her, and then an odd type of fear in their unknowing. She feels this fear too, because in this country, she’s not safe. Few Indigenous women are.
On February 13, 1960, the French military detonated the first of seventeen atomic bombs in the Algerian Sahara. The site of the inaugural bomb was Reggane—a district with a town, villages, and an oasis—located in the Tanezrouft Plain of the colonized desert, approximately 1,000 kilometers south of Algiers.
Raqs Media Collective
In the days when the mail arrived in an envelope—franked by a stamp, delivered by a postman, and slid under the door—there used to be pen-pals. This was a friendship of strangers, for strangers, by strangers. The more distant, the stranger the proximity.
Talei Luscia Mangioni
The ocean is our mat. Woven from dried pandanus leaves, like the currents of the ocean, our mat connects us to one another across our wansolwara, our sea of islands that stretches from West Papua to Mā’ohi Nui (French Polynesia). This mat is one where we come to talk story, share, feast, laugh, learn, and imagine with one another.
If you can harness plutonium, the element at the heart of the nuclear inferno, then you can magnify human power to a super-hero level. In tandem, plutonium has the power to re-map territories, produce new borders—not just between people, but between humans and the environment. By extension, plutonium spatializes power.
​Himali Singh Soin, Irene Sunwoo, and e-flux Architecture
Half-Life is a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and the Art Institute of Chicago within the context of its exhibition “Static Range” by Himali Singh Soin, featuring contributions by Kate Brown, Camille Georgeson-Usher, Samia Henni, Sabu Kohso, Talei Luscia Mangioni, Livia Krohn Miller, Radiowaves Collective, and Raqs Media Collective.
Category
Colonialism & Imperialism, Architecture
Subject
Nuclear War, Postcolonialism, Landscape, Protests & Demonstrations, Cold war

Half-Life is a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and the Art Institute of Chicago within the context of its exhibition “Static Range” by Himali Singh Soin.

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