SOLU Dialogues: Thinking with Onkalo

29 May 2024 16:30 — 18:00

Location: SOLU

SOLU Dialogues: Thinking-with Onkalo
29 May 2024 at 16:30-18:00
Panimokatu 1 (3rd floor), 00580 Helsinki


Finland is building the world’s first geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel at Onkalo, which will enter its operational phase in 2024. The site has captured the imagination of artists, anthropologists and deep time thinkers trying to think-with nuclear technologies and radioactive materials in the twenty-first century.

In this event researchers in nuclear culture, Ele Carpenter, Erich Berger, Eglė Rindzevičiūtė, Alex Ressel and Susan Schuppli, will share their different research practices, and reflect on how their recent field trip to Onkalo informs these discourses and practices. The event will be chaired by Yvonne Billimore.

The researchers will introduce their interdisciplinary research and creative practices investigating nuclear cultural heritage, materiality, intergenerational knowledge transfer and the nuclear commons, and reflect on how Onkalo informs these discourses and practices.

The Nuclear Culture Research Group field research in Finland is supported by a Swedish Research Council Exploratory Workshop grant, the UmArts Research Centre at Umeå University, Sweden, and Bioart Society, Finland.


Erich Berger is a doctoral researcher, artist and curator based in Helsinki. In his fieldwork-based art practice, he investigates natural radioactivity, potential uranium mining sites and nuclear infrastructure in Finland and abroad, resulting in works like Inheritance (2016), Open Care (2017), Spectral Landscapes (2021 -), Landscape Machines (2023-). As a curator, he develops opportunities that create critical transdisciplinary encounters and collaborations between professionals from art, natural science, technology and the humanities. Berger has exhibited widely in museums, galleries and media-art events incl: Ars Electronica Linz, File Festival Sao Paulo, Sonar Barcelona, and Venice Biennial.

Dr Ele Carpenter is a curator, artist, and Professor Interdisciplinary Art and Culture at Umeå University. She was awarded a UK AHRC Early Career Research grant (2012) to develop curatorial research into Nuclear Culture in partnership with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Submarine Dismantling Advisory Group. She went on to establish the Nuclear Culture Research Group organising field research and workshops in the UK, Belgium, France, Japan and Sweden which have been integral to research outputs including artworks, book chapters and exhibitions. Most recently she curated Splitting the Atom, CAC Vilnius, Lithuania 2020; and Perpetual Uncertainty (Bildmuseet, 2016; Z33, Belgium 2017; Malmö Konstmuseum, 2018). She is editor of The Nuclear Culture Source Book (2016).

Alex Ressel is an artist based in Darwin and Gunbalanya in the Northern Territory of Australia, who works in collaboration with Kerri Meehan. Alex is a Phd Candidate in the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Griffith University, Australia. Alex is researching Contemporary Rock Art in Western Arnhem Land, Australia, informed by collaborative filmmaking with Kunwinjku people. His research addresses the different concepts of cultural heritage in response to specific contexts. The heritage of rock art in western Arnhem Land is indicative of new ways of thinking about cultural heritage as a contemporary and living process. The project explores how contemporary Indigenous people in western Arnhem Land care for their rock art heritage, which is one of the world's oldest enduring creative traditions. This research is supported by the ARC funded project: Art at a crossroads: Aboriginal responses to contact in northern Australia.

Dr Eglė Rindzevičiūtė is Associate Professor of Criminology and Sociology at Kingston University London, UK, with a PhD in Culture Studies from Linköping University, Sweden, 2008. She was P.I. on the AHRC research networking project ‘Nuclear Cultural Heritage: From Knowledge to Practice’ (2018-2022), and is currently leading on the VR funded project: Nuclear Spaces: Communities, Materialities and Locations of Nuclear Cultural Heritage (2021-2024). Previously: Chargée de recherche, Centre d'études européennes, Sciences Po, Paris (2012-2015), Post-doctoral Researcher, Gothenburg Research Institute, Gothenburg University (2009-2012), Post-doctoral Researcher, Tema Q: Studies of Social Change and Culture, Linköping University (2008-2011).

Dr Susan Schuppli, Artist and writer, Professor and Director of the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, affiliate artist-researcher and Chair of the Board of Forensic Architecture. Schuppli’s work examines material evidence from war and conflict to environmental disasters and climate change. Her Nuclear Commons research cluster explores the evidential afterlives of radioactive materials from the accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima to the isotopic signature found in glacial ice as well as issues related to geological containment and nuclear waste disposal. Cases dealing with the nuclear feature prominently throughout Schuppli’s book Material Witness published by MIT press, 2020. Her creative projects have been exhibited throughout Europe, Asia, Canada, and the US. She has published widely within the context of media and politics and is author of the book, Material Witness published by MIT Press in 2020.


SOLU Dialogues is an ongoing event series at SOLU Space where art, science and society meet. Through varying formats we host artists, scientists and other practitioners present and discuss their work. These events are a forum for exchange and dialogue between our members, collaborators, communities and publics.


Photo: CIGEO, Underground Research Laboratory, Bure Northern France. Photo: Ele Carpenter, 2014