On April 26 1986, reactor 4 of the nuclear power plant Chernobyl exploded. This accident cost countless lives up until today, and even now, the people affected suffer from grave concequences. But along with illness, decline and destruction, the catastrophe marked a new beginning. The beginning of a new, different life, one which will find its way even within the most difficult conditions. From a distance, the Exclusion Zone around the power plant site seems to be derelict, hostile to life, frozen in time. But it is not forsaken.
Flora and fauna have been thriving there for decades almost unperturbed. The forest in its omnipresence reclaims its original living space, devouring the abandoned settlements at an astounding pace. Animals thought to be nearly extinct find new habitats among overgrown high-rise buildings and rusting antenna masts. And even people have never really left the area.
Every day, they travel in it and through it, cross its borders and move around. Some of them live there from time to time, others stay in the Exclusion Zone permanently. For some, the area is simply their workplace, to others, it is a near mythical territory to be discovered. However, they have all become a part of the Zone as well as it is part of them, the place where they live or survive. „Roadside Radiation“ is a testament to these people, a portrait of the humans living at Chernobyl. We follow these homo chernobili in their present existence and show the myriad of ways they are tied to this place, from practical to emotional. Many of them have not yet been able to let go even today due to loss, nostalgia or yearning for a place they used to and somehow still call home. Others take a more pragmatic approach – this hostile environment has become an almost absurd part of their daily routine. All of them had to adapt to a new, different life. A life between loss and a certain surreal normalcy. It is a life built around a disaster. And each and everyone of them found their own way of dealing with it.