This is not a flower

“This is not a flower… Chernobyl. Fukushima. Venezia?”

introduces the work of a new international generation of artists in a variety of media, who are intent on saving the world, including Venice herself, from nuclear apocalypse

The show was presented exclusively in Venice from May 31st to June 5th, 2011, on the occasion of the 2011 Vernissage opening of the 54th International Art Exhibition la Biennale di Venezia and the historic June 12-13th Italian national referendum as duly demanded by the Italian people on the return to Nuclear Power in Italy and its proposed local construction of the AREVA European Pressurised Reactor nuclear power station in the  Venice-Chioggia area in 2013. The installation was dedicated to the people of Venice and the Veneto region who  face the ominous spectre of nuclear energy & arms proliferation, and its apocalyptic risks and dangers, as a result of the global nuclear industry renaissance and the Italian Government’s plan to build one of the world’s largest nuclear reactor power plants just 20km from the Piazza San Marco, and the home of the Biennale di Venezia,  the world’s first, and  longest running contemporary art exhibition.

The show incorporated 3 video presentations involving video, photography, and fashion, along with still-life and architectural installation elements.

 

Logomania: “This is not a flower”Geoffrey B.  Small is a leading American avant-garde fashion and clothing designer living and working near Venice at Cavarzere Venezia, who has presented over 70 international fashion collections in Paris since  1993, and is a world leader in handmade, sustainable,   and ecological fashion design. Since the announcement of the Italian government’s plan to return to nuclear power in 2009 and the possible construction of a nuclear power plant in the Venice Chioggia-area less than 8km from his home, he has become increasingly involved in the anti-nuclear movement at the local, national, and worldwide levels and has dedicated his fashion work to raising awareness about the true risks, dangers and costs of nuclear energy. His “Logomania revisited”  collection presented in Paris in June of 2010 is the first international designer fashion collection to openly come out against the dangers of nuclear energy and arms proliferation in the 21st century, and mimicks the blatant, exploitative commercial use of corporate brand logos in fashion with an alternative logo concept of an entirely different meaning and purpose.  The historic Paris presentation including the designer’s activist message about nuclear power “What they tell us…what they don’t tell us” is shown in its video version along with a still-life installation of straw filled human forms inspired by T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Hollow Men” dressed in selected pieces of clothing and articles from the original Paris collection show.

 

“My birthplace” Roman Tcherpak is a photographer born in Ukraine at Dneproperovsk, as a child he remembers his hair falling out as a result of  the Chernobyl nuclear disaster which was over 550km away from his home. Just several weeks ago in early May 2011, he was asked by Geoffrey B. Small to make a series of photographs to help introduce and launch  a special new  t-shirt article from the Logomania collection that was developed specifically to help support the work of France’s Reseau du Sortir du Nucleaire, one of the world’s largest and most dedicated anti-nuclear environmental organizations (www.sortirdunucleair.org).  Tcherpak traveled to Pripyat, Chernobyl site of one of the world’s first nuclear ghost-towns where over 45,000 people were evacuated from their homes and never returned because of long-term radioactive contamination from the accident and explosion at reactor 4 in April, 26 1986. For his model subjects, Tcherpak found several of those people Irina Semenyuk, Olga Zakrevskaya, Alexandr Krilov, and Kristina Babich and brought them back to their home town for the first time in 25 years. They wore the t-shirt and their visit only lasted a few hours, as the radiation levels are still so high, that human beings must leave before their bodies are exposed to a lethal dose.  Tcherpak captured these people and the spaces of their past lives in a touching manner to say the least, reviewing their homes, schools, streets…few  outside know that in 1986 Pripyat was perhaps the most advanced city at the time in all of Russia. It was “a cultural center, filled with geniuses, scientists, physicists, mathematicians, artists.” No less than 1 in every 3 homes had a real piano in it, and the city boasted the very first supermarket and discoteque in the entire Soviet Union (as we look at Venice today faced with the prospect of an AREVA EPR nuclear plant only 20km away, we must note that culture, art and history are no match against the monster of radioactive fallout from a nuclear catastrophe).

Tcherpak chose his subjects and locations with an aim to perhaps convey the  impact on the millions of  “normal people who lived nearby , the experience in the ’80’s…each finally has their own disaster…some of the people get cancers…there a few survivors of the half million people who worked in the nuclear castastrophe…fear for their children…parents angry at themselves for not having closed the windows or letting their children go outside at the wrong time, or giving them the wrong food or doing something that led to exposure and eventual irradiation… ”  Few examples are more poignant than Olga Zakrevskaya, who was born just 2 weeks before the fateful event- and is one of the very last human babies to ever be born in Pripyat. She returned with Tcherpak for the first time in 25 years to the place “her parents still completely refuse to visit, a place that remains in their memories as where they spent the most beautiful years of their lives…like many in their generation they are now living in empty houses like refugees, with only the most necessary things – because they believe it can happen all over again.   And they are right, as hundreds of thousands of new nuclear energy refugees are painfully discovering now in Japan.  But Olga and the others, are part of a new generation that wants to experience where she was born and what happened there, –the physical connection of being born in Chernobyl, a “dead-zone”, a place not for humans anymore- like being born in outer space…almost a vacuum…and fight it.”  Music for the project was created by avant-garde Moscow-based artists  Masha Era on vocals, and Ilya Shapovalov on piano.  Roman Tcherpak lives and works in Venice.

 

 

“The time of evacuation” Elizaveta Kleinot & Andrey Gutsulfollowed the photographer Roman Tcherpak on his photo journey to Pripyat and simultaneously filmed the locations and spaces of the lost city that was once the most advanced city in the Soviet Union and overlay it against an audio soundtrack replay of the April 29, 1986 evacuation order that was broadcast to the over 45,000 residents of Pripyat, who were forced to leave their homes, work, schools and offices within 2 hours, and never return…a testament to the true risks, costs and dangers of nuclear energy that is today being repeated at Fukushima and tomorrow may present itself to Venice.  For the soundtrack, Hans Zimmer was originally contacted and agreed to authorize the use of his recordings from a previously done major movie release, however the directors, who live and work in St.Petersburg, chose instead to have an original track created by Sabina Krumas and Bayan Drowned in the final version for artistic and authenticity-related reasons.

Logomania “This not a Flower” is dedicated to the people of Venezia, as well as Italy and around the world, who face the ominous spectre of nuclear energy and arms proliferation from the global nuclear renaissance. It is presented in recognition and appreciation of the following groups of citizens and organizations and many others, for  their ongoing work to help stop the AREVA EPR Venice-Chioggia–Porto Tolle  nuclear power plant and waste depository project of the Italian government, ENEL and EDF, which will place Venice in permanent risk of irreversible nuclear accident, contamination, and catastrophe, in the years ahead:

Comitati Vota Si` per Fermare il Nucleare, Nazionale, Veneto & Venezia
Greenpeace Italia, Greenpeace Austria, Gruppo Locale Greenpeace, Venezia
Reseau de Sortir du Nucleaire, France
Legambiente Italia, Legambiente Venezia, Legambiente Padova
Legambiente Veneto, Legambiente Verona, Legambiente Legnago
Rete Nonuke Chioggia Venezia
Comitato Antinucleare di Legnago e Basso Veronese
Comitati Ambiente Polesine Delta Po
Il Popolo Viola – Gruppo Nazionale, Viol@Eventi
Popolo Viola- Gruppi Locali del Veneto
RNA Rete Nazionale Antinucleare
Comitato Ambiente e Sviluppo di Cavarzere, Rete AltroVe
Assemblea Permanente NoMose di Venezia
Assemblea Permanente contro il rischio chimico SG31 di Marghera
Comitato 18 luglio di Cona, Comitato Pontecchio Pulita
Rete dei Comitati Salute Ambiente Bassa Padovana
Comitato Lasciateci Respirare di Monselice
Comitato Lasciateci Respirare di Padova
Comitato “Cittadini Liberi-Porto Tolle”
USB Venezia,  Eco-Istituto del Veneto Alex Langer
Federazione della Sinistra PRC-PdCI di Rovigo
SEL Venezia, SEL Rovigo, SEL Chioggia, SEL Veneto, Fabbrica di Nichi Chioggia
VERDI – Federazione Regionale Veneta, Federazione dei Verdi, Padova
Comitato Direttivo Regionale Veneto di Cittadinanzattiva
CGIL – Camera del lavoro di Venezia
CGIL Regionale veneta – Dipartimento Ambiente e Territorio
Rif. Comunista Verona, Gruppo PD Nuovopercorso, Comitato di Ceregnano
Movimento 5 stelle – Chioggia, VAS – Verdi Ambiente e Società
Per il Bene Comune Ferrara
1 Milione di Iscritti per dire no alle centrali nucleari in italia su Facebook
Un Record per fermare il nucleare (Petizione) su Facebook
No al Nucleare in Veneto su Facebook, Nonucleareindependent Crew su Facebook

The Logomania collection is made by hand in Italy by Geoffrey B. Small at Cavarzere, Venezia and was made possible by:
Michelle Fournier, Diana Pernice Small, Silvana, Cristina, Anna, Hugo, Lily, Confezione Ghepardo (cavarzere), Koos Faber, Claudio & Cinzia Fontana Botonificio Fontana srl (parma), Tessuti Luigi Parisotto (sarcedo vicenza), Tex fashion Italia srl (varese), Manifattura Ferro Sas & SrL (padova), Tessitura Mauri spa (como), Primatex by G&B srl (thiene vicenza), Silvio Buzzoni (granarolo bologna), Roseline Bonneau (altedo), ANGELO srl (lugo di ravenna), Fausto Brumana (padova),1984 (padova), Emmedue srl (verona), RicamiJaGI srl (perugia), Marca srl (vicenza), Giuseppe Rebesco (san zenone di ezzelino treviso), Pavanatto Global Service snc (cavarzere), paese.com (cavarzere), Michele Gnocco Automobili srl (cavarzere), Anna Pavanotto & Pietro Roccato (cavarzere), DHL Express Italy Srl (milan), and all of the authorized GBS retail dealers, clients, and customers throughout the world.

exhibition consulting/production: worksetting UK
special thanks:
Associazione Culturale Bettina Brentano
Paul Bradley, Paul Bradley Studios Huddersfield UK
Koos Faber, Amsterdam, Michelle Fournier, Boston

www.geoffreybsmall.net/logomania.html

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