SALT. CLAY. ROCK.: Overcoming Time

Sat, 13.7.24, 6.00–10.00 pm Type: Research, Field trip Languages: Hungarian, English, German Admission: free

Overcoming Time
Artist-led Field Trip and Community Pit-Firing with Csilla Nagy & Rita Süveges

Meeting point: Boda Information Park, Boda, Hungary
Language: Hungarian, with whisper translation in English or German if required

As part of the two-year research project SALT. CLAY. ROCK., artists Csilla Nagy and Rita Süveges give insight into their artistic research process in Boda. Boda is a small village in Southwest Hungary, which is being investigated as a site for the country’s future repository for high-level radioactive waste due the claystone formation it is situated on. In the form of an artist-led field trip, the artists invite participants to one of the test drilling sites to contemplate questions around deep time, the responsibility for decisions impacting several generations and the ways in which a small village community negotiates this.

Csilla Nagy and Rita Süveges initiate a performative-participatory gathering, inviting everyone interested to join a communal pit-firing session. Using the most ancient technique of transforming clay into ceramics, the artists create shapes and objects inspired by ‘nuclear semiotics’, an interdisciplinary field of research asking how we imagine communication with future generations (human or non-human living beings) about the location and the toxicity of the nuclear waste repository? How do we warn them? What symbols, what language will we use? Is claystone the adequate material to store this waste and burnt clay the adequate means of communicating about it? After all, ceramic objects are often the only traces of ancient civilizations, they are the traces from which archaeologists try to understand how people had once lived and worked.

The artists see pit-firing as a metaphor, as a way of making visible the otherwise invisible infrastructure of nuclear waste storage, of grappling with “deep time” through experiencing and witnessing this transformation of materials, which also points to one of the dangers of high-level radioactive waste and its containment: it is heat-generating waste, which is why it needs to be stored in mined deep geological repositories, where not only its toxic radioactivity, but also the heat it generates can be contained.

The pit-firing session led by the artists, will be accompanied by the interventions ofseveral invited guests—a former uranium miner from the region; the village’s mayor who is a key figure in the decision-making about the future repository; an environmental activist and organiser from Pécs, who strives to raise critical awareness about the repository in the local community; ; and a geologist who is working for the research institute investigating the long-term safety of the repository envisioned in Boda. After sharing their respective perspectives, the guests will engage in a collective, open conversation with the artists and the participants of the gathering.

Artists: Csilla Nagy, Rita Süveges

With contributions by: Júlia Konkoly-Thege (activist and community organizier, Green Youth Pécs), Győző Kovács (mayor, Boda), László Wesztl (former uranium miner and community organiser, Pécs), PURAM - Public Limited Company for Radioactive Waste Management

nGbK work group: Katalin Erdődi, Marc Herbst, Julia Kurz, Virág Major-Kremer, Vincent Schier

Production: Dina Darabos, Kinga Kovács



Sun, 1.1.23 – Tue, 31.12.24 Type: Research project