By Blake Fitzpatrick
Uranium is an unstable element. It breaks down over time – a very long time. Naturally occurring uranium-238 has a half-life of 4.468 billion years, meaning that it takes that amount of time for half of the uranium to transform into other elements in a radioactive decay chain. The elements in the decay chain are called “daughters of uranium,” and each daughter is the progeny of the “parent” isotope that precedes it. This most unstable and volatile family has been harnessed by the nuclear industry for both medical purposes and militaristic ones, such as atomic weapons (U-235 is a ﬁssile isotope necessary to sustain a nuclear chain reaction). Metaphorically gendered, the “daughters of uranium” decay over time, releasing radioactivity into environmental and biological pathways in the present and for generations to come.
Artist Mary Kavanagh explores the legacies of nuclear culture in related exhibitions: the multi-faceted Daughters of Uranium and Trinity 3, a two-channel video work extracted from the larger project.1 The exhibitions reach across the nuclear Anthropocene to build connections between nuclear history and its lived effects, the nuclear site and irradiated bodies, nuclear reﬂection and material evidence…
See the magazine for the complete article and more images: Ciel variable 115 – THE MARCH OF THE WORLD