elenafilatova.com

Spring 2007

There is only one healing force, and that is nature.

(Arthur Schopenhauer)

“spring2007“

Radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl reactor's explosion was disbursed unevenly by the winds, as if in a chessboard fashion, leaving some places alive and others dead. Sometimes the whole areas are dead. Like this one. It is the so-called the Narodichy Dead Zone. It is closed by checkpoints, but it has as many holes as Swiss cheese, so I can get in and out without any problems. This territory located some 80-90 kms West of the reactor. I believe there is 18 dead villages within this Narodichy deadzone.

There is this legend that after Peter the Great have travelled through this area, he said: "This land ain't land, people ain't people," so he traded the entire Zhitomir province to Polish king for just 3 greyhounds. Well, from the perspective of what we see today this deal is overpriced. This whole area is not worth 3 greyhounds anymore.

“spring2007“

Chernobyl is so easily forgotten because it was only known to ourselves. In a first years after the accident Soviet establishment didn't want to share our story with the world, now we can not share it, we hardly remember it ourselves. Only people who know about Narodichy dead zone are those who lived here or who still live nearby and of course officials who are hiding this and other territories behind checkpoints.

This way all that remains of the tragic tale is a memory, weak and disfigured by time. In the future, indifference of people will smother the few remaining embers until at last they too are extinguished. After that Chernobyl will always remain inside knowledge of a limited circle of people and the sole property of nature.

(Journals, June 2006)

“spring2007“

Those houses already a property of Nature.

“spring2007“

and this house sprang from the earth and now it is returning.

“Kosulya“

Roe deer cross the road and jump into the yards. Here they are at home and there are plenty of them. I feel like I am in a zoo, except of course that in a zoo I am free and they are my object of interest. But here they are free and I am the object of their curiosity. In other words, in a zoo all those creatures are assembled together for our own amusement and here in Chernobyl, it is we humans who are disassembled for their amusement.

“spring2007“

What is most striking here is the contrast between the world of Civilization which is ours and the world of Nature. The world of civilisation is physical, while Chernie is a metaphysical world, "meta" means "after", Chernobyl is the world after physics. The world of Nature is something that exists of itself, it is how this world has been for millions of years before us and how it will be after us, while civilization is mere appearance, it is not "just there," it is not self-supporting. It is artificial and requires engineering and science to support it. If we want to make use of the advantages of civilisation, but are not prepared to concern ourself with the upholding of civilisation—we are done for. In a trice we find ourselves left without civilisation. Just a push of a wrong button and everything goes straight to a primitive state. We look around and see that civilization is vanishing into the air, like fata morgana. The primitive forest appears in its native state, just as if the curtains of Civilization, covering pure Nature, have been drawn back.

“spring2007“

15-20 years ago people still lived in some of those villages. Back in 1992, the highest radiation measured where people lived was 2000 microroentgen per hour. Levels have fallen since then, and people too.

The highest I measured where people lived in 2006 was 250 microR per hour.

“spring2007“

Today, the levels here can vary from normal to several hundred or even thousand microroentgen, but those figures do not reflect any real situation. Geiger counter can merely show a silhouette of radiation, its outward sign, its shadow. The body of radiation can only be detected and explored through special analysis. Even through the most delicate radiation detecting pocket device, we can see no more than the tip of the iceberg. By reading of geiger counter we know as little of radiation as we know about roots of this tree by judging by it's crown.

“spring2007“

Reading of geiger counters tell us more than reading official reports, but it tells us less than reading from the book of nature. In Chernobyl reading from the book of nature is easy, here facts themselves speak eloquently of the truth... wherever I turn, I stumble upon a fact that humans are outlawed and banned from life. I strain to hear, in hope to receive an answer, but all I can hear is the voice of Nature strongly saying to the human race, -I DON'T NEED YOU!

“spring2007“

This is memorial of World War II

“spring2007“

Here is another of Great Patriotic War.

“Memorial3“

This is memorial of Civil War. In 1921 Red Army crushed White army troops on the field. I wish, I could bring metal detector and excavate on this field. Unfortunately, all rich history of Chernobyl is lost for archeology. It is lost forever and I will always regret this.

“spring2007“

There are hundreds and hundreds dead towns and villages within a radius of 250 kms (155 miles) around Chernobyl reactor. Each year I travel, I see more and more ruined places.

“spring2007“

The only buildings in area that is not ruined are churches. Traveling through the whole of Chernobyl region I have yet to see any ruined church.

“Church“

Looters are superstitious folks and are afraid to rob churches. Also, nearby community members come to fix the abandoned churches every few years, so like separate islands they stand longer than all other buildings in the area.

“Radioactive

When I travel by, I often visit these churches. I walk through the wormwood towards the door - they are unlocked, no one inside. No priests, no smell of incense, no burning candles, only a couple of cheap icons, towels, a slightly radioactive Bible and images of Saints on the walls. I make sure the Bible is left open on the page where the age of wormwood is foretold. Then I stay for a while in contemplation. Looking at radioactive image of Jesus I ask myself, 'How long will these churches be here? Can they live without people?'

I leave this question to be answered by someone who travels here in the future and myself going back on the road to continue my journey.

Pluto's Realm Chernobyl photoreportage 2008

elenafilatova.com