A talk by Peter Galison
“How will we cope with trying to speak to a future as far from us as we are from the ice age?”
As they are usually understood, ‘wasteland’ and ‘wilderness’ are opposites; when they merge on the sites of decommissioned weapons lands, when land is at the same time designated as a nature preserve and a toxic site, this circumstance is commonly seen as ‘paradoxical’ or ‘ironic.’ Galison argues that the two categories are far more elusive than this simplistic dichotomy suggests – and that their new-found overlap undermines the historical opposition of purity and corruption. These territories provoke a questioning of what relation we will have to nature, land, wilderness, and waste.
Peter Galison visited us in 2010 to present his ongoing research on nuclear waste and land futures.