Viral Fictions: Navigating Time in Search of Memorial Markers for the Radio-Toxic Landscape of La Hague
Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis
Keywords:nuclear history, nuclear aesthetics, nuclear marker, nuclear fiction, La Hague, artificial intelligence literature
Nuclear events have inscribed the 20th century into a new chemical temporality, that generally escapes our scrutiny due to radioactivity’s invisibility. Radioactive particles keep falling back to earth since nuclear tests peaked during the Cold War, they form an iterative invisible presence that is coated in political invisibility. Through films and fictions, the paper traces haunted images that keep coming back. Two distinct geographies are weaved together, that of West Coast American deserts, where numerous tests were conducted, and that of the nuclear peninsula of La Hague, in France. The recurring metaphors of dust and mist, not only characterise the two landscapes, but illustrate how radioactive particles literally journey and affect natural environments and activate the trope of contamination. Viral Fictions address the issue of creating a nuclear marker for La Hague’s burial site. Underlying the fragility of material cultures and the aporia of projecting knowledge through deep time, the article creates a possible im- material fictional nuclear marker for La Hague. Merging a set of references from local folk oral legends with the ability of fiction to transmit forms of knowledge and imaginary archetypes, Viral Fictions uses AI algorithmic software to generate speculative forms of fictions and visuals.