This weekend a new solo exhibition opens at Telfair Museums with work by Erin Johnson, a visiting assistant professor of art and digital and computational studies at Bowdoin. The show, Heavy Water, addresses questions and themes specific to our region and considers what it means to tell the history of a place.
Johnson’s newly-commissioned body of work investigates the social and political implications of South Carolina’s Savannah River Site, a U.S. nuclear weapons program facility and National Environmental Research Park.
The video and sound installation explores the relationship between the site—a key disposition site for weapons-grade plutonium—and the free-ranging, wild dogs that live on the 310-square mile complex. Some ecologists suggest the dogs may be ancestors of the first dogs that entered North America more than 8,000 years ago, and in Johnson’s work this epic ancient timeline converges with another—that of the precarious, untenable future of nuclear weapons and radioactive waste.