Projeto Chernobyl installation image



An Artist's Radiographic Photos Cast New Light on Chernobyl

By Ilana Novick

"Anyone willing to view Alice Miceli’s Projeto Chernobyl on its own terms...will be richly rewarded," writes Ilana Novick in Hyperallergic.

Alice Miceli photographed the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in Ukraine between 2006 and 2010, 20 years after the area’s famous nuclear reactor explosion. She didn’t focus on the buildings reduced to cracker crumbs, the rusted and abandoned ferris wheels, or other stops on what’s becoming a disaster tourism destination, especially after the release of the eponymous HBO series. Miceli was there instead to capture an invisible villain, the gamma rays that lingered from the explosion — dangerous, even fatal, but invisible to the naked eye and traditional photography. Instead, she used radiographic film, typically for X-rays, to make the gamma rays visible.

Projeto Chernobyl, a selection of 30 radiographs now on view at The Americas Society, is the result of this experiment. Before visiting, I wondered whether seeing the gamma rays alone would have the emotional weight of depictions of the destruction they caused. Was Miceli akin to an X-ray tech for environmental disaster, assessing damage regular cameras couldn’t penetrate?...

In the best circumstances, X-rays offer clarity, a diagnosis, a path to action...

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