1972: The Stalker is someone who enters The Zone


Picture a picnic in the countryside. Aliens pull off the freeway and park in the meadow next to the forest. They’re playing loud music from a transistor radio and smoke pours out of their caravan all night long. In the morning they get back on the freeway and drive off. They leave discarded trash, some glowing objects, and large holes burnt in the grass.

 

The god-awful-silence sustains their presence like an open-air museum. The graveyard of folly exhibits a genealogy of missing memories. Like a trauma victim returning to a distant event, a stalker approaches the zone cautiously and sees used ignition plugs, lubricant soaked rags, burnt-out bulbs, and a few strange tools that were left behind. And of course, the usual mess — empty bottles, half-smoked cigarettes, apple cores, candy wrappers, charred remains of a handkerchief, some torn newspaper, coins and faded flowers picked in another meadow. The
anomalies left behind are ordinary to the aliens but incomprehensible or deadly to those who find them.


With her own set of symbols and rituals, the stalker escapes the 40-hour work week, her life in a concrete box, and enters a completely different world. The elegiac expanse is so peaceful she never wants to leave. The acrid smell of tepid water permeates the pursuits of the past. The ruination is a symbol of failed utopian ideas and a warning of the havoc wrought by ecological
catastrophe.

 

The stalker’s hobby is an escape from an overly-regulated world. She escapes into another reality in which the collapse of modern civilization can be grasped and contemplated. Both a student of history and a documentarian, the stalker protects memories of disaster from falling into oblivion. Inspired by catastrophe — real and imagined — the stalker breaks free from the
eternal haste of waking life.

 

1987: Picture a picnic in the countryside


The series of errors at the power plant caused the worst disaster the planet had ever seen. An explosion at Reactor Number Four released a cloud of radioactive dust that poisoned millions of acres of land and forced the evacuation of nearly a hundred thousand inhabitants occupying the surrounding area. The exclusive area around the site of the fallout was called the Exclusion Zone or, simply, The Zone. An article in the penal code was introduced making it illegal to enter The Zone and patrols protected the perimeter from trespassers. Like the fictional roadside picnic, the collection of dangerous artifacts left behind were cloaked in an invisible force. Beyond the border of The Zone lies the sheer thrill of discovering abandoned memories preserved in toxicity. The Stalker is someone who enters The Zone.