CHRIS FREMANTLE

Re: LANDWORKERS

Posted in CF Writing by chrisfremantle on June 8, 2009

Whilst working at the University of the Arts Berne, had the opportunity to meet and speak with George Steinmann.  His work From-To-Beyond highlights what was missing from the discussion at LANDWORKERS.  We heard about wonderful cultural projects in Samiland, in Dogribland and in Scotland.  All these places continue to suffer the environmental and social impacts of extraction.  Steinmann went to the Kola Peninsula in Russia (part of Samiland) and saw the massive environmental destruction:

“In the autumn of 1995, after thorough preparation, and having contacted scientists in Norway, Finland and Russia, I headed for Murmansk to travel the Kola Peninsula with a Russian Guide.  The itinerary included a visit to Severomorsk and the nuclear submarine base there, as well as excursions to the nickel smelting works in Montsegorsk, Apatity, and Nikel, and a trip to Teriberka on the Barents Sea.  I have never travelled in a region so scarred.  It is one huge pathogenic zone caught between primal nature and industrial exploitation.  This vast region is fatally polluted and damaged by the huge amounts of nuclear waste in the Barents Sea and on the island of Novaya Zemlya, and by the gigantic sulphur-dioxide output of the smelting works. “

(p.166, George Steinmann: Blue Notes, Helmhaus Zurich, Verlag fur moderne Kunst Nurnberg, 2007)

Images

There is a real danger in focusing on the art, and the art focusing on aspects of the cultural, and thus missing the real environmental, social and economic dimensions of extraction and pollution in these remote places.

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