Filmed in Siberia, Crimea, and Kazakhstan, This Is Cosmos draws on diverse materials including poems, philosophical texts, scientific writings, academic papers, and historical studies. It particularly centers on the writings of the philosopher Nikolai Fedorov, who believed that death was a mistake, “because the energy of cosmos is indestructible, because true religion is a cult of ancestors, because true social equality is immortality for all.” Fedorov advocated the development of scientific methods for the radical extension of life, and the resurrection of the dead.
For the Russian cosmists, cosmos did not mean outer space: rather, they wanted to create “cosmos” on earth. “To construct a new reality, free of hunger, disease, violence, death, need, inequality – like communism.” Vidokle’s film re-engages this Utopian project, seeking out the traces of such philosophy after the end of the Soviet Union and in the present day.
This program is organized in conjunction with Hito Steyerl’s exhibition at Artists Space, and is rooted in the long running exchange of ideas between Steyerl and Vidokle. e-flux journal, which Vidokle co-edits with Julieta Aranda and Brian Kuan Wood, has served as an important context for Steyerl’s writing, alongside many other authors. After the screening Vidokle will be joined by another regular contributor to the journal, art historian Boris Groys, to discuss the ideas at work in This Is Cosmos.