In echo to the Fukushima catastrophe in Japan, this work treats the context of nuclear power in France.
Installation of 19 flags on flagpoles, Candes Saint-Martin, 2012, within the exhibition Des temps donnés, curator Gunther Ludwig
What impressed me most when I first came to Candes is the river landscape, the confluence of the Loire and the Vienne, the sublime nature - and its vicinity to the nuclear plant of Chinon.
Taking the official map of the French power company EDF as a base, I looked for the 19 sites of nuclear plants in France : Nogent, Chinon, Civaux, Le Blayais, Golfech, Tricastin, Cruas, Saint-Albin, Bugey, Fessenheim, Catennom, Chooz, Graveline, Penly, Palué, Flamanville, Saint-Laurent, Dampierre and Belleville. Because of need of cooling water, they are all in river territory or near the coast.
I drew a simplified, graphic map of each of them. They are nice decorative images, quite abstract pictograms, but they are all based on reality, and also contain a menace.
Graphically speaking, three elements constitute them : blue surface (river or sea), white (territory) and a red spot where the nuclear plant is positioned. This visual echo to the Japanese flag is an hommage, in memory of the Fukushima catastrophy. The allusion to city orientation maps and the famous red spot saying “You are here” inspired the title. The flagpoles put up in a line remind us the well known scenographies of political and economic institutions.
Ideally this project should be constituted of 198 flags corresponding to the 198 nuclear plants throughout the world.
Jason Karaïndros’ installation “We are not here” consists in 19 flags installed on flagpoles in the garden of G. Joy and H. Dutilleux’ house, near the confluence. The flagpoles are put up in lines on three sides of the garden, and remind us of official alignments as we see them often in international institutions. But here the flags refer to mysterious places. The motifs dont’t tell us anything about being part of this or that. The question is not only about the use of nuclear power in France or in the world, it is about the complexity of territory in our contemporary societies. Among these 19 sites, the border of the Loire river is one example among others : the living and nature coexist the best as they can next to the technique created by mankind. An apparent paradoxe. Thus, although the world is all explored and known, the elswhere is still possible by sharing living situations. “We are not here” tells us something about the instable equilibrium in which we live, and the danger to give too simple, unequivocal answers to the questions we have to consider.