RBMK1000

Young, Nicholas (2016) RBMK1000. [Video]

Abstract

RBMK100 is a short film inspired by the experiences of the residents of Pripyat during the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. Research Process: The film takes its name from the reactor that exploded on 26th April 1986. Accounts from residents of Pripyat and ‘Liquidators’ who took part in the clean-up inspired the verses in the first part of the film. The official report of the disaster was analysed and ‘factual’ information was extracted to give the ever-growing numbers in the second half of the film. Found footage from Pripyat filmed before the disaster was interspersed with the text. The style of the film was influenced by ‘La Jetée’ (Chris Marker, 1962). As the film progresses, the ‘film’ begins to become damaged from the bottom of the screen, a reference to the photographs of Igor Kostin, who’s pictures taken at Chernobyl were damaged due to the high levels of radiation. The soundtrack to the film is the sound of an RBMK100 nuclear reactor. Research insights: The methodology of making ‘RBMK100’ came from Young’s Reductionist Manifesto. Reductionism is defined as ‘storytelling through absence’. What is absent in this story is a sense of the truth. ‘Truth’ becomes increasingly abstract and points to what was left out official accounts. The film ends with the official number of fatalities - 31. Given all the previous information, this is intended to make the audience question the authenticity of this figure. Young found that the quantitative data alone did not tell the human story. Adding verses told from an eyewitness perspective made more of a human connection. Dissemination: ‘Storytelling as a Means of Communication in the United Kingdom’s Creative Industries’, Fifth International Conference on Media and Popular Culture, UK. 12th January 2019. The Fashion Institute of Technology New York. 28th February 2018. Mediendesign DHBW Ravensburg, Germany. 10th May 2017. Turku University Arts, Finland. 28th February 2019. Desiatka Hotel, Ukraine. 20th April 2016.

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