Chernobyl’s zone of alienation


Chernobyl/Pripyat (2011) by Paul Curry.

Everyone’s favourite irradiated town, Pripyat in Ukraine, has been in the news again now that twenty-five years have passed since the the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. This photo of the area by Paul Curry is part of a panorama (with the nuclear plant in the distance) taken from a rootop on a clear day. Most photos of the site show the now-familiar abandoned buildings, empty playgrounds and so on; Curry’s view taken on 29th May this year is remarkable for showing how overgrown the place has become.

Chernobyl has become indelibly twinned with Andrei Tarkovsky’s masterwork of grimy science fiction, Stalker (1979), and the novel upon which the film was based, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s Roadside Picnic, a mesh of connections I explored in an earlier post. Darren Nisbett’s series of photos currently showing at the Rhubarb and Custard gallery, Berkshire, are good examples of how Stalker-like the place is now looking. Nisbett calls his series, many of which are infra-red views, Chernobyl’s Zone of Alienation although there’s no indication of whether he’s alluding to the hazardous Strugatsky/Tarkovsky “Zone”. The photos are on display until the end of this month, and the prints are for sale. The Independent has a gallery feature about the exhibition here.

Update: Simon Sellars from Ballardian alerts me to this blog which is currently running reports from a visit to the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Rerberg and Tarkovsky: The Reverse Side Of “Stalker”
The slow death of modernism
The Stalker meme

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