• The Toxic Camera

Wilson, Jane and Wilson, Louise, 2012, Art or design object, The Toxic Camera

Abstract or Description:

'The Toxic Camera' continues the authors history of making films in unique, and difficult-to-access locations.The narrative includes the story of the camera that the Soviet filmmaker Vladimir Shevchenko used in the days immediately following the accident. His camera became so highly radioactive that it was subsequently buried on the outskirts of Kiev. The toxicity of Shevchenko’s camera acts a metaphor for the vulnerable nature of the landscape and the human body, both being irretrievably damaged by radiation in Chernobyl. The film was selected for the Rotterdam Film Festival where it received its cinema premiere in 2013.
The film script was developed from interviews conducted with Chernobyl 'veterans' (Nuclear plant workers, physicists, helicopter pilots) and with Shevchenko's film crew, 25 years after the incident. The authors fascination with the Shevchenko film is that by capturing the effects of radiation directly onto the film stock, it becomes an event in itself. The film is a reflection on the material nature of film as an event as well as considering the human impact of the disasters in Chernobyl and the more recent explosion in Fukishima.
The authors visited the Kiev National film Archive where they viewed extracts of Shevchenko’s documentary film – referred to as ‘the most dangerous film ever made’ because it contains visible effects of radiation pockmarked on the actual film stock. They worked with the cultural theorist Dr. Susan Schuppli and the writer Tony White, to develop a script from the interviews made in Kiev. After much research the authors located the camera burial site in The Pirigovo Radioactive Waste Facility, in Kiev, and secured permission to film there. Part of the film was also made in the National Cinematheque of Ukraine, Kiev, and on Orford Ness, Suffolk coast. The voice over for the film was spoken by Sergii Mirnyi, a Chernobyl veteran. The performers were unknown actors based in Kiev.

Writer of accompanying materialSchuppli, Susan
Writer of accompanying materialWhite, Tony
ActorGnidkovsky, Vladimir
ActorKuznetsov, Mihail
ActorMorozov, Mihail
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
Creative Arts and Design > W600 Cinematics and Photography
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Funders: Art Council England, Lottery Fund, Forma
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2016 14:55
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 15:45
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1744
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