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Exposures, Photographic and Otherwise: Complex Encounters with Toxicity – Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou

21-06-2023 @ 17:00 - 18:30

Exposures, Photographic and Otherwise: Complex Encounters with Toxicity – Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou.


“Exposure,” as a term, freely flows in different contexts, from environmentalist and activist circles to scientific and medical discourse. Levels of exposure—to radiation, to lead, to asbestos, and beyond—are deemed safe or unsafe by shifting regulatory frameworks. And more often than not, these levels are “terribly uneven” in their social distribution (Alaimo 2010). In the practice of photography, exposure precedes the revelation of the image—it registers on the negative an image that is latent. Photographic and toxic exposures unexpectedly came together in uranium mines in the 1960s and 1970s, when workers used photographic film to measure levels of exposure to radon (Hecht 2012; van Wyck 2010). This talk moves through intersecting meanings of “exposure” in an attempt to think together figures that usually sit apart: the photographer and the miner.

Dr. Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou is a historian of modern and contemporary art, specializing in the relationship between art and science with an emphasis on nuclear technologies. Her interdisciplinary scholarship, at the intersection of art history and the environmental humanities, engages nuclear aesthetics, the visual culture of extraction, and material histories of art and the environment. She was awarded her PhD from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris in 2021, supported by an Onassis Foundation scholarship, with a dissertation entitled Dwelling, Extracting, Burying: Nuclear Imaginaries in Contemporary Art (1970-2020). She is an affiliate researcher at the Centre Georg Simmel, EHESS, Paris. She has held visiting fellowships in environmental humanities centres at Carleton University, Ottawa (2018) and VU University, Amsterdam (2019) and was a curatorial fellow of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (2020-21). Currently, she is working on an exhibition about the atomic age at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris (fall 2024).

This event is part of our summer semester 2023 lecture series “Complexity”.


17:00 - 18:30
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Aachen, 52062 Germany
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