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Performing Theory Series - Nuclear Hallucinations


24 October 2019, 5pm-8pm
Goldsmiths College
New Cross SE14 6NW
MRB Screen 1

This event inaugurates a new academic year for those of us doing Screen related research, by hearing from practitioners about the relationship between their ideas and their images.

Fathima Nizaruddin will be here to screen and discuss her 2016 film,  Nuclear Hallucinations.

Discussion and reception to follow.


(Nuclear Hallucinations, Fathima Nizaruddin, 2016, 54min.)

Nuclear Hallucinations is a film, which claims to be a documentary, and it is centered around the anti-nuclear struggle against the Kudankulam Atomic Power Project in South India. In a context where cases of sedition and waging of war against the state are filed against anti-nuclear protesters, the film attempts to question the totalitarian nature of pro- nuclear assertions through comic modes. Satirical impersonations, performance and ironic renderings of jingoistic rhetoric work together to form a narrative that explores the tragic absurdity of constructing nuclear power plants on a tsunami affected coast. This narrative tries to ascertain the relation between the production of “scientific facts” about the “safe” nature of the Indian nuclear project and violence against anti-nuclear protesters including police firing. Anti-nuclear activists, villagers and performers who appear in the film engage with the farcical dimension of these “facts” and this raises larger questions about how authoritarian knowledge claims are asserted through the documentary form.

Artist Statement

Nuclear Hallucinations which emerged out of my practice based PhD at University of Westminster uses video, performance art and elements from street theatre to extend an invitation to approach the epistemological violence around the Indian nuclear project through comic modes and irony. By combining live performances with video at filming as well as screening stages, the project treats video work as an open process that transcends the limits of the screen. Nuclear Hallucinations places itself within the terrain of activist documentary films and links such documentary practices with the traditions of political theatre in India.


Fathima Nizaruddin is an alumnus of AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, and Goldsmiths, University of London. Her films have been screened at various international film festivals including Punto de Vista, Spain, Filmmor Women’s Film Festival, Turkey and Bracelona International Women’s Film Festival, Film South Asia and Uranium Film Festival, Berlin. She is a recipient of the National Geographic’s All Roads Seed Grant and Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT)’s Film Fellowship. Nuclear Hallucinations emerged out of her practice based PhD project at University of Westminster, London. Fathima works as an Assistant Professor at Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi. Her research interests include embodied communication, mobile media, bhakti publics, right- wing circulations and  documentary film. Her articles have been published in BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies and Dastavezi: The Audio-Visual South Asia.

Selected Festival Selections and Screenings, Nuclear Hallucinations

Madurai International Film Festival, 2016
Film South Asia, 2017, Kathmandu
Environmental Film Festival in Albania, 2017
Social Justice Film Festival, 2017
9th CMS Vatavaran Film Festival, 2017
Uranium Film Festival, Berlin, 2017 (special mention)
Poetics and Politics of Documentary Symposium, University of Sussex
University of Pennsylvania 2017
MIT, 2017
5th Chennai International Documentary and Short Film Festival 2017
ViBGYOR International Short & Documentary Film Festival, 2017
Kochi Biennale 2017.
Kolkata People’s Film Festival, 2018