Emily Graham was born in the UK in 1983 and works in London. The pictures for The Palace series were taken somewhere in central France. With these evocative photographs, Graham explores a fateful question: What symbols can warn people about nuclear waste? This communication has to extend into infinity. At least as long as thinking creatures exist.
The surest way we know today to store nuclear waste is to bury it deep underground. But radioactive waste that is buried will remain hazardous for a million years. The title of the series, The Palace, refers to the building that is the centre for testing, and also to the scientific sphere that works with questions about nuclear waste. Scientists from different fields, anthropologists, archaeologists, architects, philosophers and semiotists, are trying to formulate a warning. A warning that even future societies must be able to understand.
The photographs in The Palace were taken at the research sites and potential places for burying radioactive waste. We see details and views, but Graham’s pictures are also about language. Her images speak a language of their own, while simultaneously telling of another language, a language that must come into existence. Is it possible to access the psychological state of man; an internal, general and symbolic language? If so, can that language inhibit human curiosity and create an eternal culture around a burial place?