After the well-known disaster in 1986 the Exclusion Zone around Chernobyl became a prohibited area, and the soil in this area is still severely contaminated. Yet around 140 samosely or self-settlers still live here, and more than 2,000 people are still working in and around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Photographer Esther Hessing (NL) and writer Sophieke Thurmer (NL) visited the Exclusion Zone and ‘city of the future’ Slavutych several times to capture the firsthand stories of power, perseverance, hope and solidarity.

Bound to the Ground is a document of three parts of the artists’ travels: the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the deserted city of Prypyat in particular, and Slavutych, the newly built city just outside the Zone. We decided to split these parts in the book as well. First we introduce the Exclusion Zone and the old samosely who still live there. Then we take a step back in Prypyat and discuss the history of the disaster. Finally we go to Slavutych to show the new generation of Ukrainians whose livelihoods still depend on the power plant.

Bound to the Ground
Esther Hessing &
Sophieke Thurmer, 2016

235 × 312 mm, 136 p (EN+NL)
offset-printed otastar softcover
with two different paper stocks

Best Dutch Book Design 2016

Edit i.c.w. Esther Hessing &
Sophieke Thurmer
Design i.c.w. Rob van Hoesel
Lithography by Sebastiaan Hanekroot
Production by Jos Morree

ISBN: 978-94-92051-23-3
Published by The Eriskay Connection
€ 30 (more information)