Kontrollraum / Control Room

Thomas Demand (Germany)

Galata Greek Primary School


“Looking at photographs of the meltdown of Fukushima’s nuclear plant, we aren’t looking at a disaster, but an image of a disaster… We cannot neglect the context through which the image came to us: taken by workers who sent it from their cell phones whilst trying to stop the meltdown… In the coverage circulating in the media… those images were retouched one day after their first appearance, to make them look less dramatic… By erasing the anecdotal relevance—the news of the day—and diffusing it with a generic version of what one might remember—my image of the space, on display here—the result seemingly formalizes and aestheticizes a previously documentary and shocking picture… However, there is no such thing as a real story once its mediated and sent through channels of communication, which are essential for the survival of mankind.” –TD


Thomas Demand’s Kontrollraum / Control Room is a large-scale photographic depiction of the control room of reactor No. 1 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, right after the energy accident of March 11, 2011. According to estimates, the radioactive material released from this localized event, has polluted one-third of the Earth. Similarly to his earlier work, Demand created Kontrollraum by photographing a life-sized paper model that recreated the subject matter depicted.