Guest Lecture – Daniel Bürkner: Visualising Nuclear Catastrophes (June 20, 2018)

On June 20, 2018, the Munich-based curator and cultural theorist Daniel Bürkner, PhD, will give a talk about a pressing and global issue: Visualising Nuclear Catastrophes. We think, seeing is believing. But what if the cause of a disaster is invisible? Nuclear catastrophes, be they civilian casualties or military attacks, have immense consequences. And yet they remain surprisingly intangible in their pictures. What does that mean in a world that increasingly generates awareness of events and global coherences via images? The images of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Chernobyl evoke central continuities that extend into the current confrontations with Fukushima and perhaps help us to fathom the blend of incomprehension and myth that is perceived in such events. Having always been used for the representation of the invisible, photography plays a special role in this respect. It becomes the hunt for a phantom. From the perspectives of the theory of photography and science of images, photographs from journalism, art, and popular culture will be explored that seek to capture the events in pictures both in terms of motifs and via the unmitigated medium itself. Taking into account the dilemmas of our present, the lecture will also shed light on the unique strategies of art in the aftermath of Fukushima.

Daniel Bürkner gained his PhD with the dissertation on Fotografie und Atomare Katastrophe: Die visuelle Repräsentation der Ereignisse von Hiroshima / Nagasaki und Tschernobyl, Berlin 2015 from the Department of Art and Visual History at the Humboldt University Berlin. He has worked intensely on topics of photography, cultural trauma, cultures of remembrance as well as in the field of art and science. As a curator, he has initiated festivals and series on media art and sound art, and also worked on numerous exhibition projects and discursive programmes on art and science for the ERES Foundation in Munich. He is currently taking care of international public art programmes for the City of Munich, Germany.

The Guest Lecture Series of Professor Ingeborg Reichle’s lecture on Critical Reflection on Relevant Global Challenges is an informative and stimulating opportunity for CDS students to hear from distinguished experts about relevant global challenges and systemic risks our societies are facing today. In our rapidly changing world we are currently challenged by unprecedented dynamic processes on a global scale such as climate change, demographic change, mass migration, and a number of global catastrophic risks. The Global Catastrophic Risks 2017 report of the Global Challenges Foundation (Stockholm, Sweden) addresses the following current systemic risks: catastrophic climate change, weapons of mass destruction (nuclear warfare and biological and chemical warfare), ecological collapse, pandemics, asteroid impacts, supervolcanic eruptions, geoengineering, and artificial intelligence. The lecture series will focus on catastrophic climate change and nuclear warfare and will offer expertise from leading academics in the fields of climate change and visual culture, like picturing nuclear disasters as global images.

Our guest lectures are open to all.

Date and time: Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 13:45 am – 17:00 am
Venue: Department of Cross-Disciplinary Strategies University of
Applied Arts Vienna
Hintere Zollamtsstrasse 17, 1030 Vienna
Seminar Room (4th floor)