Zone: Mutant Space

Atif Akin, 2010, NY, US

online at:

Catastrophe in 1986, turned into spectacle as a monument of the cold war, mythically and epidemiologically spread to Europe, Asia and Anatolia. Today Chernobyl is the temple of ostalgie. Project aims at presenting the Zone as a reconstructed mythologic space as it could free itself in an art space as the mutant space. Project deals with the notion of non-space in different layers such as the myth, state, hypermodernity, catastrophe and memory.
The area was evacuated in 1986 due to the disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The power plant was within Chernobyl Raion, but the city was not the residence of the power plant workers. When the power plant was under construction, Prypiat, a larger city and closer to the power plant, had been built as home for the power plant workers. After the accident the Chernobyl Raion administration was transferred to the neighboring Ivankiv Raion.

Chernobyl, still today is an isolated zone which reminds Stalker, 1979 science fiction film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. It is a Zone. This film with a screenplay written by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky is one of the main visual and conceptual inspiration for this project. Also, Chris Marker, in his 1982 film Sans Soleil, may refer to Tarkovsky’s Stalker in case of the use of the term Zone to describe the space in which images and their attached memories are transformed. Mutated landscapes or the alienated images of the Zone constitutes the framework of this project. This online structure is the execution of a non-narrative but yet filmic structure of the non-space, this time formed by this contender power of the hypermodernity.

This website, Zone launches with the terrain vision of the exclusion zone coupled with all the names of the animal species narrated in the saga of the Noah’s Ark symbolizing a post catastrophe situation. Entrance is the state (Ukraine) controlled border of the Zone and the footage is taken as we were driving into the Zone.

Sky images of the Zone are animated with java script driven by data streamed from a self surviving solar panel unit. Solar panel is attached to an I/O board which transmits data to the java applet where it is mapped to opacity and position of the images. The background color of the applet is the characteristic blue glow of an underwater nuclear reactor is due to Cherenkov radiation. This also constitutes general color theme of the project. Less the sunlight falls on to the panel, the sky images turns into Cherenkov blue. Same solar panel also powers up the I/O board, keeping it self sustained. Forensic material, Uranium-235 ore sample is also used in a similar fashion where its radioactive mobility is detected by a geiger counter and recorded in a database. This dataset triggers the online animations in the ‘Mutant’ section of the website.

Atif Akin, 2012, New York, US


Atif Akin, 2010, Chernobyl, Ukraine
Atif Akin, 2010, Chernobyl, Ukraine
Atif Akin, 2010, Chernobyl, Ukraine