Erich Berger | Spectral landscapes


Erich Berger’s current work takes place under the umbrella of the Spectral Landscapes project, investigating radioactivity and the landscape. The exhibition in osmo/za presents the most recent part of this ongoing research that deals with notions of deep time, deep futures, innate and human made landscapes, and the nuclear contemporary. 

During the last two years Berger conducted intense field work in Finland, exploring sites with heightened natural radioactivity. The radioactivity originates from the decay of natural uranium and thorium mineralisations in the rock. He collects data which allows him to portray the gamma radiation fields which protrude from the radioactive base-rock as intricate but intrinsic features of the landscape.

The exhibition imagines a bizarre but beautiful topography rising from the landscape, which is a product of the ever ongoing radioactive decay in the bedrock. Invisible but present, the constitution of these fields are part of the innate processes of our planet in deep time, conforming to continental drift, the biogenic accumulation of oxygen in our atmosphere, the folding of mountain ranges and their weathering; they follow the carvings of geophysical forms which produce the features of the landscapes we observe around us. Berger refers to these bodies as spectral because their presence is ghostly and can only be detected via extra-sensorial means, but then they are also spectral because they are fields of light, of photons, although located in a part of the spectrum not visible to the human eye.


Erich Berger

Erich Berger is an artist, curator and cultural worker based in Helsinki Finland. His focus is on the intersection of art, science and technology with a critical take on how they transform society and the world at large. Throughout his practice he has explored the materiality of information, and information and technology as artistic material. Berger’s current interest in issues of deep time and hybrid ecology led him to work with geological processes, radiogenic phenomena and their socio-political implications in the here and now. He moves between visual arts and science in an area which he also investigates and develops as director of the Bioart Society in Helsinki. His installations, performances and interfaces are exhibited widely and Berger received awards from renowned institutions such as Prix Ars Electronica (AT), ZKM (DE), Vida Telefonica (ES), Files Prix (BR) and Arts at CERN (CH).

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