Title: Brutal Aesthetics
Location: Orford Ness, Van Nelle Factory, Chernobyl, Compact Power, Battersea Power Station
Broadcast: Resonance FM
Date: November - December 2006
Type: media project
Following on from the 'Art and War' series in July/August 2006, Cecilia Wee visits, in person and by proxy, 5 military and industrial sites in Europe to explore their histories, architecture and social impacts. From Orford Ness to Chernobyl, Brutal Aesthetics explores our love/hate relationship with industry and its buildings - simultaneously necessary to contemporary society yet deemed brutal, ugly, visually and physically polluting.
This varied set of interviews aims to tell the stories of 5 sites by those who have worked there. Part field recording, part geographical musing, Brutal Aesthetics explores our erotic fascination with machine aesthetics and the vehement production of tools with which we re-shape the face of the Earth, in local and global terms.
Part One - Orford Ness
Once a base for the Central Flying School's Experimental Flying Division and the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Cecilia Wee talks to National Trust Property Manager of Orford Ness - Grant Lahoar - about the site's stories, buildings and standing as a internationally renown nature reserve.
Part Two - Van Nelle Factory, Rotterdam
After almost 70 years as a working factory, The Van Nelle Factory is a much-loved modernist monument in Rotterdam, now home to over 100 international design companies. Cecilia Wee interviews former Archiguide and architect Chris Luth about the buildings' original details and recent renovation.
Part Three - Chernobyl, Ukraine
20 years after the largest man-made explosion at Reactor 4 in the Chernobyl power plant in the Ukraine, sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard spent 3 days in the area making sound recordings. Cecilia Wee spoke to him about his trip to the Chernobyl 'Zone of Exclusion'.
Part Four - Compact Power, Avonmouth
Situated in Avonmouth, an area of industrial activity for several hundred years, the Compact Power plant transforms municipal waste to energy. Cecilia Wee asks the plant's Business Development Manager, Richard Hogg, about the changing face of waste disposal.
Part Five - Battersea Power Station
After numerous attempts at redevelopment, one of London's most famous abandoned buildings is finally receiving a new lease of life. Cecilia Wee talks to some of the architects and local residents about the current regeneration of Battersea Power Station.