artists     stories    image-search     news    contact

The Palace

© Emily Graham

In rural central France, vast amounts of nuclear waste will be buried deep underground, in what is now viewed as the safest way to dispose of it. The radioactive waste hidden here will potentially remain dangerous for one million years. The secureness of the site must, therefore, last forever, and so should its memory; ensuring that future generations do not accidentally, or through curiosity, disturb its contents. Languages have a habit of disappearing. Signs and symbols can be interpreted in a multitude of ways. Communities, environments, landscapes shift over thousands of years. Scientists, anthropologists, archaeologists, architects, philosophers and semioticians have all been trying to answer the question of how you leave a warning that future societies can understand and respect? Creating a culture of memory around burial sites is seen as one answer.

Making photographs around the research sites and potential locations for burying said remains, and working with a combination of documentation, construction and manipulation, I aim to question notions of “permanence” and the “ephemeral”; examining the materials of memory and our fallible structures for preservation and record keeping.

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

Above ground, Test Site 1, 2019.
Underground Test Site 1, 2019.

Underground Test Site 2, 2019.

Oil & Stone, 2019.

Fabric & Glass, 2019.
Underground Test Site 3, 2019.

Canola flower, 2019.

Underground Test Site 4, 2019.
Cornflower, 2019.

Radiation & glass, 2019.

Above ground, Test Site 2, 2019.

This work was initiated through the Mosaic commission, with writer Helen Gordon. Some text courtesy of & copyright Helen Gordon.

Institute Artist is redefining how stories are produced and told. Representing auteur-driven storytellers, we bring together talent across commercials, photography, fine art, and film. Founded by Matt Shonfeld and Frank Evers. Institute Artists multi-platform production expertise, and established global relationships in entertainment, fine art, and journalism make for unmatched reach and cross-pollination of creative work. Institute Artist has been a leading advocate of the power of underrepresented talent and is fully committed to bringing these authentic voices to our clients by helping them tell compelling and entertaining stories that better connect with their audiences.