|In the autumn of
2007 I made a journey to Chernobyl. It is a place that after the 1986
disaster has become a symbol of wrecked future. The city was built with
plans for 12 reactors, but was evacuated after the accident in reactor
But for literal Christians, Chernobyl represents a proof of “Beginning of the end”. The Revelation in the Bible describes the events that will occur before the Armageddon, the final war. Among other things, a star will fall down on the earth and poison large parts of the water – “And it's name will be wormwood.” In Russian, the word Chernobyl means mugwort, a plant belonging to the same species as wormwood.
In Suspension of Disbelief, my trip to the the post-apocalyptic place is interwoven with Tarkovskij's film Stalker, combined with music by Mozart. The common denominator is the tendency to believe – in connections and simple solutions, that events have a pre-sentence, or that there is a place which can fulfill our innermost desires.
I take the literal readings one step further by showing that the prophecy also fits with another location. It is Nevada in The United States – known as the Sagebrush State. Sagebrush is also closely related to wormwood, with bitter taste. The Nevada desert is known for the nuclear tests which were made there in the 1950- and 60's. Hence it has a similar link with the Bible prophecies as Chernobyl, but the relationship has not received the same attention.
In fiction we often accept facts which we would disbelieve in daily life. Every genre has it’s own agreements with the viewer about what is credible. This phenomenon is called Suspension of Disbelief.
Similarly, one can think of any religion as a world of agreements among the initiated. What might seem absurd to a non-religious, may be reasonable for a believer.