State Hermitage
Youth Education Center
 

November, 17–21

 

6–8 Palace square

The exhibition is entered from the Palace square

through the museum zone of the General Staff Building

November, 17: 16:00 – 18:00

November, 18: 13:00 – 18:00

November, 19: 13:00 – 19:00

November, 20–21: 13:00 – 17:00

Admission by e-tickets from the State Hermitage

Artists

 

Cecilia Dougherty (USA), Emilio Vavarella (Italy–USA), Anton Vidokle (USA), Francesca Fini (Italy), Aristarkh Chernyshev (Russia), Ellen K. Levy (USA), Arina Slobodianik (Russia), Yuki Hayashi (Japan), Mikhail Zheleznikov (Russia), Guilherme Bergamini (Brazil), Jonathan Phanhsay-Chamson (France), Andréa Stanislav (USA), Fay Heady (Ireland–Japan), Phyllis Baldino (USA), Prantik Narayan Basu (India), Tonoptik (Russia), Boris Shershenkov (Russia)

 

Curators

 

Sofia Kudryavtseva (Russia), Anna Frants (Russia-USA), Elena Gubanova (Russia), Victoria Ilyushkina (Russia)

 

 

Video, installation, web-art

17-21 November

 

Video

 

Anton Vidokle, Immortality for All: A Film Trilogy on Russian Cosmism, Kazakhstan / Germany / Russia / USA 2014–17, DCP, colour, sound, 96 min, Russian with English subtitles.

Anton Vidokle, Citizens of the Cosmos, USA / Japan / Ukraine 2019, HD video, color, sound, 30 min, Japanese with English subtitles.

Cosmos and Chaos video program curated by Victoria Ilyushkina, 120 min. The program will be screened daily during the official opening hours. Please see a timetable above.

 

Installations

 

Emilio Vavarella, The Other Shape of Things – 2, sculpture project, 2019-ongoing

Cecilia Dougherty, Drift, web-art, 2020

 

Special screening, video program, lectures

 

November, 17 at 7pm

 

Anton Vidokle, Cosmist Aesthetics. The lecture will be held in English with consecutive translation into Russian.

Read more >

 

Anton Vidokle, Citizens of the Cosmos, USA / Japan / Ukraine 2019, HD video, color, sound, 30 min, Japanese with English subtitles.

St. Petersburg premiere of the film.

Read more >

Presentation of the video program Cosmos and Chaos, 120 min.

Read more >

November, 21 at 2pm

 

Emilio Vavarella, Between Form and Information. The lecture will be held in English with consecutive translation into Russian.

Read more >

 

 

Anton Vidokle (USA)

Immortality for All: a Film Trilogy on Russian Cosmism

video films, 2014–2017

Today the Russian philosophy known as Cosmism has been largely forgotten. Its utopian tenets — combining Western Enlightenment with Eastern philosophy, Russian Orthodox traditions with Marxism — inspired many key Soviet thinkers before they fell victim to Stalinist repression. In this three-part film project, artist Anton Vidokle probes Cosmism’s influence on the twentieth century and suggests its relevance to the present day.

In Part One he returns to the foundations of Cosmist thought (“This Is Cosmos”, 2014). Part Two explores the links between cosmology and politics (“The Communist Revolution Was Caused by the Sun”, 2015) and Part Three restages the museum as a site of resurrection, a central Cosmist idea (“Immortality and Resurrection for All!”, 2017).

Combining essay, documentary and performance, Vidokle quotes from the writings of Cosmism’s founder Nikolai Fedorov and other philosophers and poets. His wandering camera searches for traces of Cosmist influence in the remains of Soviet-era art, architecture and engineering, moving from the steppes of Kazakhstan to the museums of Moscow. Music by John Cale and Éliane Radigue accompanies these haunting images, conjuring up the yearning for connectedness, social equality, material transformation and immortality at the heart of Cosmist thought. 

The films are shown in Russian with English subtitles.

 

This Is Cosmos (2014) 

The first film in the trilogy was shot in Siberia and Kazakhstan, as well as in the Moscow and Arkhangelsk regions, and comprises a collage of ideas from the movement’s diverse protagonists, including founding philosopher Nikolai Fedorov. Fedorov, among others, believed that death was a mistake, a flaw in the overall design of the human — as Vidokle himself puts it, “because the energy of cosmos is indestructible, because true religion is a cult of ancestors, because true social equality is immortality for all.” For the Russian cosmists, the definition of cosmos was not limited to outer space: rather, they set out to create “cosmos,” or harmonious and eternal life, on Earth. The ultimate goal, as illuminated in the short film, was “to construct a new reality, free of hunger, disease, violence, death, need, inequality — like communism.”

 

The Communist Revolution Was Caused by the Sun (2015)

The second part of the trilogy looks at the poetic dimension of solar cosmology of the Soviet biophysicist, Alexander Chizhevsky. Filmed in Kazakhstan, where Chizhevsky was imprisoned and later exiled, this part introduces Сhizhevsky’s research into the impact of solar emissions on human sociology, psychology, politics and economics in the form of wars, revolutions, epidemics and other upheavals. The film aligns the life of post-Soviet rural residents and the futurological projects of Russian cosmism to emphasize that the goal of early Soviet breakthroughs to conquer outer space was not so much about technical acceleration, but rather the common cause of humankind in their struggle against the limitations of earthly life.

 

Immortality and Resurrection for All! (2017)

The last part of the trilogy is a meditation on a museum as a site of resurrection — a central idea for many Cosmist thinkers, scientists and avant-garde artists. Filmed at the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow Zoological Museum, the Lenin Library and the Museum of Revolution, the film looks at museological and archival techniques of collection, restoration and conservation as a means of the material restoration of life, following an essay by Nikolai Fedorov on this subject written in the 1880s. The film follows a cast of present-day followers of Fedorov, actors, artists and a Pharaoh Hound as they playfully enact the resurrection of a mummy, followed by a close examination of Malevich’s “Black Square”, Rodchenko’s spatial constructions, stuffed animals, artifacts of the Russian Revolution, skeletons, and mannequins in tableau vivant-like scenes, all in an attempt to visualize the poetry implicit in Fedorov’s writings.

 

Anton Vidokle (USA)

Citizens of the Cosmos

video film, 2019

Music by Alva Noto

Courtesy of the artist, ASAKUSA, and Vitamin Creative Space

The film is based on the manifesto of Biocosmism written by Alexander Svyatogor in the early 1920s. Shot on location in Tokyo and Kiev, in collaboration with a group of amateur actors, volunteers and extras, the film presents an imagined community voicing historical desires of Russian Cosmism — immortality, resurrection of the dead and interplanetarism — set in everyday life in contemporary Japan. Using urban shrines, cemeteries, a crematorium, tatami rooms, a bamboo forest and city streets as an open air stage, the film narrates the text of the biocosmist manifesto while presenting a sequence of dream-like tableaus, featuring rejuvenation through blood transfusion, funerary processions and demonstrations, the Danse Macabre, the cremation bone-picking ceremony, attempts to communicate with the dead using stethoscopes, and a theremin orchestra recital, among other scenes. “Citizens of the Cosmos” is an experiment in defamiliarization: a speculative test of the universality implicit in the premise of Cosmism when projected outside the sphere of Russian geography, tradition, culture and language.

The film is shown in Japanese with Russian subtitles.

Emilio Vavarella (Italy–USA)

The Other Shape of Things — 2. Datamorphosis

sculptures, 2019 — work in progress

Special thanks to Filippo Gucciardi, Amerigo Mariotti, William Roper, Barbara Ganley, and GALLLERIAPIÙ

The project consists of 15 series of 3D printed sculptures in PLA plastic (3 of which are already produced), based on the 15 books that comprise Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”. Each series is composed of a variable number of sculptures (ranging from 7 to 23). Each sculpture takes the name of one of Ovid’s myths and is produced by making a computer interpret Latin verses about metamorphosis as coding instructions for the production of tridimensional forms. 

Cecilia Dougherty (USA) 

Drift

web-based art, 2020 

“Drift” tells the story of a walk the artist took in March, 2020, along the North Shore of Staten Island, NY, just as it was beginning to dawn on people that leisurely strolls might be a bad idea at the present moment. The project was created using basic HTML/CSS coding, and the images were taken with an iPhone. The artist takes a final stroll through favorite parts of her neighborhood before lockdown. Descriptions of the surroundings and a chronicle of events of the pandemic are mixed with critical thoughts on virus capitalism, such as the experience of resisting the virus in the USA and the inaction of the Trump administration.