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The Cost of Our Choices: Alice Miceli's Projeto Chernobyl at The Americas Society

By Jonas Albro

"The exhibition seems to ask, what happens when we do not check our worst instincts?" writes Jonas Albro in Arte Fuse.

What would it be like to really see a ghost? To peer beyond the veil into a realm that coexists with ours, but perpetually impossible to perceive? This is one of the central animating principles of Alice Miceli’s haunting Projeto Chernobyl, on view at the Americas Society until January 25th. Using radiographic film, Miceli has managed to visually record gamma radiation still present in the exclusion zone established surrounding the town of Pripyat in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.  There has been a recent renewed interest in Chernobyl, particularly after the sensational response to HBO’s prestige drama retelling of the event from earlier this year. When taken against the backdrop of a collective sense of our impending doom from climate catastrophe, Miceli’s work insists on a greater consciousness of our accountability to our planet. But she does not appeal to the angels of our better nature; instead, this ideology is presented as a threat. The exhibition seems to ask, what happens when we do not check our worst instincts?...

However our future as a species unfolds, this indelible mark will remain, likely long past when we have faded into the annals of Earth’s history. Our longest standing monument will be an invisible one, and it will commemorate our carelessness and our hubris. How’s that for a memento mori?

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