An experimental publication of narrative nuclear politics, Reimagining Chernobyl, is in the very early stages of development. We attempt to write—using words and images—the personal narrative of a man who served as a “liquidator”, or conscripted cleaner, in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.
By focusing exclusively on one man’s experience and legacy of Chernobyl, we take a highly contextual approach, whose archive is not the secondary literature, but family history and vernacular photography. Decontextualised studies of nuclear events often deem their very subject of study “unthinkable”, yet by giving voice to a victim of Chernobyl through familial connection, we situate Soviet nuclear colonialism as future cultural heritage. Reimagining Chernobyl therefore performs a narrative nuclear history that connects a familial past with a universal future.