Nikel Materiality is a research project commissioned by Dark Ecology and realised by Tatjana Gorbachewskaja in collaboration with Katya Larina.
Nikel Materiality explores the industrial mining town Nikel through the lens of unique material substances, textures and artefacts that emerged during Nikel existence. Through a catalogue of artefacts we present Nikel as a ‘material system’, and as a multiscalar expression of new materials which appeared and evolved in the town fabric.
The series of photos and maps traces how different materials emerged in Nikel. On a micro scale they show the physical properties of the material; on a macro scale they show the socialeconomic processes which happened in Nikel, as well as the environmental processes in the region. We are interested in the unique local assembly of interactions of matter and energies that are driven by nature, industry and social activities, cast in the form of an Anthropocene landscape.
Through the exploration of the materiality of the town – which is named after the material nickel – we reveal an emergent symbiosis of the natural environment and alien materials which were brought in through human activity.
This catalogue displays a complex loop of relationships between processes through which these new materials continuously have been forming an overall structure of the territory, and on the other hand side processes by which the territory simultaneously participated in the formation of the materials.
This catalogue of Nikel artefacts and maps of their location helps us to sense the design agency of the material system of Nikel, a system first alienated from the natural environment, but later embraced and completed by nature. The research represents not only the failed past of human ambition to overcome nature but also aims to discover the processes of co-design that drives both human ambitions and the forces of the natural environment which together shape the existing and future landscape of an Anthropocene of the Arctic.
Dark Ecology, 2015
Dark Ecology is a three-year art, research and commissioning project, initiated by the Dutch Sonic Acts and Kirkenes-based curator Hilde Methi.
Nikel Materiality website
Dark Ecology, Kirkenes, NO
Sonic Acts, Amsterdam, NL