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Pripiat / Slavutych

Pripiat / Slavutych, originally uploaded by Emmanuel Smague.

Pripiat / Slavutych


Part of Chernobyl and Schools

A city of 48000 until April 1986.
This is where the workers of the nuclear plant used to live.
It is now a ghost town.

A city of 22000 habitants, 8000 of whom are less than 18 years of age.
Located 30 miles east of the nuclear plant, this city was built a year after the catastrophe.
The workers take a train from here to go on the site of the nuclear plant, that still requires maintenance. Few of them lived in Pripiat...

Working on diptychs allowed me to draw a parallel between these two cities, to find the "live" counterpart of things I first found abandoned.

I did try to play the first prelude of the Well Tempered Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach on that piano in Pripiat, my hands fitted in latex gloves. All that dilapidated shell of a piano gave me was a pathetic little note. A few days later I came to meet the assistant director of the music school in Slavutych. And as I told her about my attempt to play on that piano in Pripiat, she said : "please drop it. I taught and played on that piano. I could never return. It would be too painful."

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