Melodies, Moods, and The Zone as a Hole

Eldritch Priest

Abstract


: I traveled to Chernobyl in June 2018 with a small group of academics and artists to think about what dwelling in and passing through a zone of exclusion might entail, not in a metaphysical sense but also not not in a metaphysical sense. As I learned, thinking about The Zone (as I’ll call it) is not a straightforward affair. On the one hand The Zone is exactly what you might think it is – a radioactive territory whose crumbling ruins and growing wildlife bear witness to the failure of the soviet nuclear dream. Yet on the other it’s also not what you think it is, like a hole is not the nothing it appears to be but a something that, strictly speaking, it isn’t. Because of this ontological uncertainty The Zone is not only something to wander in but something to be wondered about. And as such, it may be better dreamed than simply thought of. Drawing on my zonal meanderings and a speculative-pragmatic form of acoustic ecology, as well as employing a liberal dose of poetic licence, I develop a fabulation that takes a stroll through a forgotten cemetery, an improvised melody played beneath a secret radar array, and a daydream had in a dilapidated post office as expressive of a thought experiment whose meaningful result is more a fictional achievement than a factual reckoning. Images and sounds from my peregrinations through The Zone figure in this work as elements that advance a story about a future people displaced by climate change who evolve the ability to lure affections from environmental spaces by casting melodies into them. In this future history we learn about the costs of noise and the nature of holes; we discover that media travel backwards in time, and we sense not what The Zone is but what mood it’s in.

 

Article received: April 25, 2020; Article accepted: May 30, 2020; Published online: October 15, 2020; Original scholarly paper

How to cite this article: Priest, Eldritch. "Melodies, Moods, and The Zone as a Hole." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 23 (2020): 45-66. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i23.396


Keywords


Chernobyl; moods; soundscape; melody-casting; acoustic ecology.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25038/am.v0i23.396

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