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<nettime> Radioactive Ride in the Heart of Manchester
Franco Mattes on Thu, 21 Oct 2010 22:45:11 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Radioactive Ride in the Heart of Manchester

October 21, 2010

A 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 www.PlanC.cc
Contact: francomattes (at) gmail.com

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  

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: http://happybunnypony.com
Eva and Franco Mattes: http://0100101110101101.ORG
Todd Chandler: http://floodtidefilm.com
Tod Seelie: http://todseelie.com
Jeff Stark: http://jeffstark.org
Steve Valdez.

Plan C was commissioned by www.andfestival.org.uk and www.dispariedispari.org

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