Art + Australia. Issue 5 (55.2): Brutalism
141 pages | Softcover | B&W and colour images
Editor: Edward Colless
Authors: Edward Colless, Behrouz Boochani, Cait Storr, Toru Yoshikawa, Beth George, Paulius Andriuškevičius, Justin Mallia, Hayley Singer, Lisa Radford, Yhonnie Scarce, Sophie Knezic, Tessa Laird, Terry Smith, Gwynneth Porter, Mark Titmarsh, Isabelle Sully, Vivienne Shark LeWitt
Deep underground on the Finnish island of Olkiluoto, a corporation has been excavating the world’s largest nuclear waste repository. Once filled with its toxic cargo, the site will need to be hermetically sealed in such a way as to avoid contamination of the earth’s surface. This infernal Pandora’s box of a pit would also need to be left inviolate for the time during which that volume of radioactive material would decay into an innocuous state: something like 100,000 years. That’s 50 times longer than the unbroken seal on Tutankhamun’s tomb. Imagine a distant future in which some fragmentary evidence of Olkiluoto’s massive sarcophagus—as a long-forgotten subterranean structure—is encountered by archaeologists studying the remote Anthropocene era, or by treasure hunters with a taste for antique brutalist architecture. Would it not be as archaic and alluringly enigmatic as the monstrous architectural relics discovered by the Antarctic explorers in H.P. Lovecraft’s novella At the Mountains of Madness, explorers who are slaughtered or sent insane by an unnameable evil hidden within the labyrinthine depths of this seemingly deserted Antarctic megalopolis? In a metafictional twist, the novella is a first-person account by a survivor of the doomed expedition, accented with his own hystericised horror and written as a warning ... although one unlikely to be heeded. The temptation to excavate the ruin buried at Olkiluoto—whether for archaeological knowledge, architectural heritage or for tomb raiding—would also be dangerously irresistible.
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