Ge(ssenwiese), K(anigsberg) – Library for Radioactive Afterlife
“A question arises of energy transfer. Surely in the formidable radiation at hand —energy in the form of nuclear radiation— but also in other tracings of the body, in impressions of approaching and reading a subject matter, energies are exchanged. Even in the looking. States of seeing —directional and directive— where observing alone alters both seer and seen. Ge(ssenwiese) K(anigsberg), Library for radioactive afterlife binds two sites through acts of reflexive composition. Focusing on Kanigsberg (an area where uranium mining once took place) and Gessenwiese (a former test site in the process of environmental rehabilitation), the (book as) artwork juxtaposes the mountain and meadow, extraction and seepage, veins and roots. At its core, it interrelates sighting, siting, and citing — directed observation is inextricable from positioning in space and bound up in correlating contextual influences. One cannot simply look away.” (Cassandra Edlefsen Lasch, Intro)
Gessenwiese and Kanigsberg form part of a landscape that has been in a process of constant change since 1946. The overburden from the mining industry created radioactive spoil heaps and lakes that are being rehabilitated by various means: plants growing on Gessenwiese accumulate contaminants from the soil. Textiles are used to slowly dry out the lakes and bind the radioactive dust. The banked mounds are returned to the earth bit by bit. These continual changes to the volumes in the landscape and their afterlife are the conceptual starting point for Ge(ssenwiese) K(anigsberg), Library for radioactive afterlife. In recent years, Susanne Kriemann has developed a radically expanded idea of photography that investigates new systems for registering events and geological periods.