Immortality for All: A Trilogy of Films about Russian Cosmism

with Anton Vidokle
Friday, November 30, 2018 - 7:00pm

Warning: Films contain prominent FLICKER and STROBING EFFECTS which may be harmful to some viewers.

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

Q&A to follow with director Anton Vidokle and Profs. Robert Bird (Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures), Kara Keeling (Department of Cinema & Media Studies), and Matthew Jesse Jackson (Department of Visual Art).

(Kazakhstan/Germany/Russia/USA, 2014-2017, 96 min., DCP) 

Anton Vidokle is an artist based in New York and Berlin. As founder of e-flux and e-flux journal, he has produced projects such as the Martha Rosler Library (2005-06), Pawnshop (2007), unitednationsplaza (2008-09), and Time/Bank (2010). Vidokle’s work has been exhibited internationally at Documenta 13 and the 56th Venice Biennale. His films have been screened at Bergen Assembly; Shanghai Biennale; Istanbul Biennial; Witte de With, Rotterdam; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; Berlinale International Film Festival; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Gwangju Biennale; Locarno Festival; and Centre Pompidou, among others. 

Co-sponsored by Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (3CT), the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, and the Center for Eastern European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (CEERES).