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Uranium Glass Sculptures Look Ominous And Radioactive, In A Very Beautiful Way

Australian artists Ken and Julia Yonetani have created a series of sculptures that look like glow-in-the-dark room decorations. It’s fascinatingly surreal, yes, but not all that special. Until, of course, you find out these sculptures were made of uranium glass. Now do you still want one for a nightlight?

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Apparently, the glass only contains up to 2% uranium, and emits very little radiation, too little to pose a health risk to people who interact with it. So, it was completely safe for Ken and Julia to work with, and for people to view up close. Nevertheless, knowing that the glass contains uranium makes us wary, makes us wonder if ten years later we’ll die from radiation poisoning.

Perhaps that was what the artists wanted. Ken and Julia were inspired by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, naming their exhibition of the sculptures What the Birds Knew, a tribute to Akira Kurosawa’s 1955 film I Live In Fear, which claims that birds would flee before impending environmental threats. Will we flee in the face of radiation or will we stand transfixed?

TimeOut Sydney has an excellent interview with Ken and Julia on What the Birds Knew, so we get to find out why their exhibition on a nuclear accident features, of all things, chandeliers and giant ants. Seriously, the story on the giant ants is worth checking out.

Their exhibition opens on Thursday, August 9 at the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.

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(4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art via Boing Boing, featured image credit Anthony Johnson)

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