St. Andrew’s United Church is a social justice community in the heart of Kjipuktuk Halifax. View Lou’s piece from within the church or head outside to view it from the sidewalk, church steps or Balcom Square (the little park between St. Andrew’s and Coburg Rd.) This is a busy part of town. Stay alert. Use common sense.
Radiant Hours (Fall in, Fallout), Lou Sheppard, 2021 Composition for Stoddart Island, Audio and Visuals
We come from stars. We will be constellations.
In 1972, there were rumours and political mutterings about a 10-reactor nuclear power plant -- the largest on earth -- being planned for Stoddart Island, just off the southwest coast of Nova Scotia. Though plans for the site never officially surfaced, the proposal generated significant debate in the province about the future of industry and the protection of the environment, uniting fledgling environmental action groups into an anti-nuclear coalition.
Radiant Hours (Fall in, Fallout) is an audio and visual composition based on the erosive damage done to human DNA over prolonged radiation exposure. Hanging in the sky are two constellations - an intact strand of DNA, and a strand altered by radiation damage - and an atomic sun, evoking sunrise and sunset. The constellations are read as musical notations and played as melody and counterpoint, to sound the damage done by the toxic waste of nuclear power generation, as well as the arguments for and against nuclear power. Radiant Hours, like the golden hours directly after dawn and before dusk, are our beginning and end. The elements of our bodies came from exploding stars and will return to constellations -- of DNA, of stardust. We hang in the balance, remembering what could have been our future, and imagining what would have been our past.
Developer’s Note: This project and the project at Crystal Crescent Beach has an Augmented Reality feature that will only work on iPhones. Android users may view a film version of the AR experience.
Lou Sheppard is a Canadian artist working in interdisciplinary audio, performance and installation-based practice. Lou graduated from NSCAD in 2006, and then Mount Saint Vincent University in 2013. He has exhibited work and participated in residencies throughout Canada, in Europe and in the US. Sheppard received the Emerging Atlantic Artist Award in 2017 and has been long-listed for the Sobey Art Award in 2018, 2020 and 2021. Lou’s work pays queer attention to systems of meaning-making and how these systems construct and order our bodies and environments. His research and phenomenological navigations are presented as scores, often performed with other artists and citizen performers, which note how these systems mediate our experiences and question how we might experience differently. Lou lives on the traditional and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq, in Mi’kma’ki/Nova Scotia.
The EAC was a part of a large coalition consisting of dedicated local volunteers, environmental activists and other environmental organizations, who came together in opposition to the proposed Stoddart Island nuclear power plant. It was, yet again, a situation where the government was holding private meetings with industry and ignoring demands for public consultation. The location was chosen by an American firm to generate energy for the American market on Nova Scotian soil. Besides the harm the radioactive toxins and toxic waste could have on the environment, the plant necessitated a huge underwater cable for the transfer of energy. Luckily, this band of activists, led by Hattie Perry, successfully prevented the building of the power plant. It would have been the biggest nuclear power plant in the world, even to this day.
Having trouble viewing this video? View it directly here