Radioactive Ride in the Heart of ManchesterA group of artists scavenged it from Chernobyl
A project by Ryan C. Doyle, Eva and Franco Mattes aka 0100101110101101.ORG and others
Video and photos PlanC.cc
Manchester UK – A rusty, soviet-style sculpture, created with contaminated materials scavenged from the site of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, appeared overnight in one of Manchester’s public parks.
The elaborated project is a collaboration of machine artist Ryan C. Doyle and provocateurs Eva and Franco Mattes aka 0100101110101101.ORG, with filmmaker Todd Chandler, gonzo photographer Tod Seelie, DIY organizer Jeff Stark and fabricator Steve Valdez.
In the Summer 2010 the group embarked on a journey to Chernobyl, to develop a secretive Plan C. They had one thing in common: an obsession for Tarkovsky’s 1979 movie Stalker.
After obtaining permissions to enter the highly radioactive Zone of Alienation they ventured into the ghost town of Pripyat and found the abandoned amusement park. Built for May Day 1986 as a gift to the power plant workers it was never inaugurated, since the reactor exploded five days before. Finally the group located what they were hoping to find, the Red Ride. They picked through the irradiated remains.
While they were there a load of scavenged materials left the Zone on a rural tractor, leading west.
A month later the scrap metal was sitting in an anonymous warehouse under the railroad in Manchester, UK, where the group started secretly working day and night on The Liquidator. The sinister-looking sculpture-ride was installed overnight in Manchester’s Whitworth Park.
«The idea came after meeting sculptor James Acord, the only individual licensed to work with radioactive materials» said Eva Mattes «He thinks that it’s inevitable that artists use the materials of their age. I was ten when Chernobyl’s radioactive cloud flew over my head, and into my thyroid».
«Manchester was not a coincidence» declared artist Ryan C. Doyle «it was the heart of the industrial revolution and it’s close to the first and biggest European nuclear power plant».
Concern spread among Manchester citizens: «They say it’s a sculpture but I don’t like it, I don’t see any beauty», said Rosie Parker, a regular of the Park «It seemed very unsafe in the first place, and this radioactive thing makes me shudder».
The ride operated daily for a whole week at the beginning of October, involving thousands of enthusiastic visitors of all ages and origins. It than disappeared as fast as it had appeared.
«Thousands of tons of radioactive scrap metal leave the Zone everyday to be sold to the Russian and Chinese market and eventually come back to us in the form of spoons, pots and sinks», declared Franco Mattes «Radioactivity has no border. So we must probably just get used to it, starting from the younger generations».
The whole project is shredded in mystery and where the sculpture will go next is still unknown. A short film about the whole affair, directed by Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark, is in the making. Plan C is their first collaboration, although they are not new to such adventures. Cumulatively, the group has created jet-powered carnival rides, navigated junk rafts across the Adriatic Sea and organized viral media art campaigns.
More info on the group:
Ryan C. Doyle: happybunnypony.com
Eva and Franco Mattes: 0100101110101101.ORG
Todd Chandler: floodtidefilm.com
Tod Seelie: todseelie.com
Jeff Stark: jeffstark.org