Smith Journal - - Smith Stuff -

Ger­man artists Mia Grau and An­dree Weis­sert plate up an ode to nu­clear power. What’s the deal with these Atomic Plates? MG: An­dree and I were drunk in the kitchen one night, and started talk­ing about these old kitschy plates with wind­mills on them. Wind­mills used to be fac­tory build­ings; now they’re con­sid­ered idyl­lic. We wanted to send up the sen­ti­ment that every­thing was bet­ter ‘in the good old days’. Are they based on ac­tual power plants? MG: Yes. The back of each plate lists the plant’s his­tory and where it’s lo­cated. Any favourites? MG: Ham­mUen­trop is a good one. “Start of con­struc­tion: 1971. Power: 1987. Shut­down: 1988. Dis­man­tling: not yet com­pleted.” It sums up the mad­ness. What do you want peo­ple to think about when they see your plates? MG: Peo­ple used to buy these types of plates as sou­venirs, but now they’re con­sid­ered bour­geois. When peo­ple see them on my wall I can tell they’re think­ing “My god, what’s up with her?” But then they take a closer look and the dis­cus­sion be­gins. Why a nu­clear power plant? Why does it look idyl­lic? Is it beau­ti­ful? Ugly? Funny? And are those lit­tle flow­ers around the pic­ture? Or is that the ra­di­a­tion sym­bol? atom­ SJ

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