Sabina Blasiotti’s ‘infodump’ of nuclear waste materials presented as a mountain landscape reveals a tangible issue that not only should, but can, be addressed
Student: 2nd Winner
Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
Yale Professor Edward Tufte cited the ‘brutal elegance’ of 19th century engineer Charles Joseph Minard’s exquisite infographic, commissioned by Napoleon, to describe his failed campaign on Russia to help Bonaparte understand where the war was lost. There is something of the spirit of that great statistical drawing on display here in Blasiotti’s submission. Outlines of Nuclear Geography ‘is an infographic illustration of nuclear waste materials (for example, spent fuel, i-graphite, metals, concrete and soil) forming the silhouette of a mountain and stacked upon each other following two hierarchies of volume and radioactive contamination. It further annotates different decontamination technologies and potential reuse projects, distinguished by material.’
The ability to drill into and interrogate this graphical landscape was not lost on the judges, who referred to the project even in the preamble to the judging. Again, the drawing in a sense followed the surrealist theme, taking real information and moulding it into a graphic language that takes the form of a mountain landscape. This landscape, says Blasiotti ‘stands for an archetype of eminence, abundance and presence. It does not signal an invisible threat; rather the threat is visualised, classified and exposed in all its matter, as a tangible issue that can and should be addressed’.'There were certain things I was looking for with the entries,’ said Kester Rattenbury, professor of architecture and cities at the University of Westminster, ‘and I found myself always responding to those that had something unique about them.’ Blasiotti’s nuclear ‘infodump’ had this quality in spades.