An Exploration back into the future under the influence of communism. A look at the monuments memorabilia and once highly secretly kept plans and places that shaped the idea’s and visions for the future of space travel in communist Russia.
Jane and Louise Wilson’s video installation show us this futuristic rocket machinery, now in a filmic investigation of Star City, a vast military research and secret training facility for Russian cosmonauts past and present.
The start of ‘the space race’ between the Soviet Union and the US was the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, then Sputnik 2 with Laika , the first dog in space followed by the US launched Explorer 1 Satellite in 1958 and the race to get the first man to the moon was on.
As part of the exhibition there is homage to the first woman in Space in 1963, Valentina Tereshkova. Tobias Putrih has created a special cinema seating for viewing an alternative ending to Tarkovsky’s 1972 film version of Solaris by Deimantas Narkevicius.
It seems that Sci –fi was part the popular consciousness and the desire to escape the bleak and constrained experiences of living under communist rules inspired artists and writers to speculate scientifically, mystically and philosophically toward a future exploration of space. There is a mention of the Eccentric and visionary Nokolai Fedorov 1828-1903 who’s goal was the resurrection of the dead, sending out atoms into space to resettle. And I enjoyed Aleksandra Mir’s work ‘ The promise and the dream’ where collages mix religious iconography with space imagery.
Stan Filco’s is a well-known artist in Slovakia his installation amongst the documents and drawings of the time , is a list setting out statements for the future and a time line for achievements in progressive space travel. I was fascinated by this list and have attached it below. Nottingham Contemporary is a great exhibition space and well worth a vist. Look out for the lace imprints in the concrete facials of the building a reference to the lace making industry in historical Nottingham.
The booklet accompanying the Star City Exhibition asks in the last paragraph, ‘if any of the remains of the collectivist future under communism are still relevant today and whether the current vision of a universal capitalism will one day resemble an irrelevant ruin too’.
Barrack Obama has announced plans to have a Man on Mars by 2030. I wonder if his list looks anything similar to the one below. Written by Scientists at the Asociacie in Bratislava in 1968.
The Future Exploration of the Universe (According to Scientists 1968/69 Asocieacie-XXVIII)
1969 The first man sets foot on Moon
1970 Drinking Water from Sea Water
1971-75 Automatic Translation from one language into another
1975-80 Reliable Weather forecasts
A provisional base on the Moon
Rockets with nuclear propulsion
Decoding the language of the Dolphin
Men flying around Mars and Venus
1980 General use of Computers
1982-85 Permanent basis on the moon
The first man sets foot on Mars
Sondes get beyond our solar system
1989 Exploitation of mines on the sea bottom
Control and command of the weather on economic basis
Simple forms of life developed in laboratories
1990 Permanent cosmical stations on neighbouring planets
General use of synthetic foodstuff by men
2000 Human settlements on some of the planets
Economic exploitation of the oceans producing about 20% of human foodstuffs
2010 Penetration into the interior of the terrestrial globe
Radio transmissions working upon all 5 sense organs
Exploitation of lightning energy
2020 Landing on Jupitor
Unmanned space ship flying to the stars
Points of contact with other civilisations
Mining of minerals on other planets
Artificially guided Heredity
2050 Flights beyond our solar system lasting for generations
Commercial transports between earth and moon
Guided force of gravity
Planets equipped to house men
Perfect life artificially produced
2080 Men flying to the stars
Engines more reasonable then men
The climate on earth is guided firmly and regardless of cost
2100 Men meet other unknown civilizations
Work by Stan Filco