Rimma Kiselitsa, Chernobyl 2005
Interview by Sarah Kirkegaard

Rimma Kiselitsa, Chernobyl, October 2005. Photo by Jacob Kirkegaard.


In 2005, 19 years after one of the nuclear reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power complex exploded and caught fire, triggering what is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history, Sarah and I visited Chernobyl. We stayed for three days in what is called the Zone Of Exclusion, where I recorded sound and video that I later used to create the video installation Aion and composition 4 Rooms (Touch) in 2006. 

Rimma Kiselitsa was a senior specialist in the international relations department of the Chernobyl Inter Inform agency and acted as our guide during our three days in the Zone.
Impressed with her experience and intelligence, Sarah made this interview with Rimma at ‘Hotel Chernobyl’, where the three of us were the only occupants in an otherwise empty barracks. 

In the interview Rimma speaks about her work in Chernobyl, general tasks and the specific activities she carried out on daily basis inside the Exclusion Zone. She describes the stress on and patience of the original inhabitants of Chernobyl, and praises the courage and heroism of the ‘Liquidators’ who worked to contain the spread of radiation in the days and weeks after the accident.

Looking around her, she remarks on the mockery of Chernobyl becoming a tourist destination, where some visitors have even covered the crumbling walls with graffiti. 
The interview concludes with Rimma’s reflections on the folly of mankind’s reckless and arrogant exploitation of nature, invoking images of the Apocalypse and Saint John’s Revelation with its visions of the torch and ball of fire.

Sadly, Rimma passed away in March 2006.
We are releasing this interview in her honor and in honor of first responders all over the world, who in this pandemic are risking their lives to save lives and making the rest of us safer.

Jacob Kirkegaard, April 26th, 2020




Rimma Kiselitsa demonstrating radiation levels near Red Forrest, Chernobyl, October 2005. Photo by Jacob Kirkegaard.

Released digitally on May 1st, 2020 - 24 years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
Part of the TOPOS digital series 00/00/00. Catalogue number Topos-200501

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