Anton Vidokle and the Institute of the Cosmos

Saturday 1 July – Saturday 28 October 2023
Anton Vidokle, Autotrofia, still, 2020-23 | Anton Vidokle and the Institute of the Cosmos | Saturday 1 July – Saturday 28 October 2023 | SIRIUS | Image: Anton Vidokle, Autotrofia, still, 2020-23 – the film still is a close-up of a ram’s head, showing a black right eye (with a bit of reflected light) and a short, curved right horn that appears to have some red blood on it

Sirius Arts Centre presents the exhibition Anton Vidokle and the Institute of the Cosmos. The exhibition features four films that look at Cosmism through themes of biopolitics, immortalism, interplanetarianism, revolution, nutrition, utopia, resurrection, and museology: Autotrofia (2020-23) and the trilogy This Is Cosmos (2014), The Communist Revolution Was Caused by the Sun (2015), and Immortality and Resurrection for All! (2017). It also features a specially designed Institute of the Cosmos gallery; part library, part archive, and part classroom, this includes a timeline of Cosmism and an extensive selection of historical and contemporary texts exploring Cosmism and related topics.

Cosmism is a constellation of theories and projects—philosophical, artistic, scientific—informed by the writings of the philosopher Nikolai Fedorov (1829–1903). It brings together discourses of Marxism, Orthodox Christianity, Enlightenment, and Eastern philosophy. Furthermore, it involves conceptions of technological immortality, resurrection, and space travel, and speculates on how these might be materialized through artistic, social, and scientific means.

Vidokle’s films are “tableaux vivants” operating between fact and fiction, reality and otherness, poetics, and ideology. They trace the history and current relevance of Cosmism and evolve into broader reflections about historical and more recent understandings of death and technological immortality. They elucidate how Cosmism aims to overcome time-space finitude through cooperative, creative endeavors toward a “more-than-human” universalism.

The films mix voice-over narration, soundtracks (original scores and ambient sound), dialogue, quotes from essays by Fedorov and other thinkers, and intellectual and aesthetic references ranging from Constructivism to speculative interactions between natural phenomena and societal transformations. They were shot in Altai in Siberia, Almaty and Karagandy in Kazakhstan, Moscow, Tokyo, Kyiv, Oliveto-Lucano in Italy, and beyond, and employed local amateur actors and extras, including artists, farmers, taxi drivers, dancers, and security guards.

This Is Cosmos introduces the cosmos as not only outer space but also something involving invisible cosmic energies moving through the currents of terrestrial-aquatic ecologies, both within our bodies and as part of our everyday lives. The Communist Revolution Was Caused by the Sun analyzes philosophical and political semblances between Cosmism and Communism, as well as the Sun’s impact on history. Immortality and Resurrection for All! focuses on the museum as a site of resurrection, looking at collection and conservation as means to the material restoration of life. Autotrofia considers the willingness and capacity for humans to become autotrophic beings, no longer controlled by the heterotrophic desire to kill and eat other living organisms.

The Institute of the Cosmos was initiated by Arseny Zhilyaev and Anton Vidokle in 2019 as “a space for a creative investigation of the materiality of the cosmos.” The gallery at Sirius Arts Centre dedicated to the Institute of the Cosmos is a site-specific manifestation of varying elements of the digital version of the Institute of the Cosmos, and serves as the setting for a series of events—screenings, reading group sessions, and panel discussions—that meditate on or prompt the emergence of, situated radical imaginaries and bodies of knowledge.

Anton Vidokle and the Institute of the Cosmos is produced by Sirius Arts Centre and curated by Miguel Amado, director, in dialogue with Vidokle.

Exhibition Launch
Anton Vidokle and Professor Sarah Wilson, of the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, examine the exhibition and engage with the legacies and the political and aesthetic potential of Cosmist ideas and imagery.

Anton Vidokle is an artist and filmmaker based in New York and Berlin. He is a founding editor of e-flux journal. His films have been presented at museums, festivals, and events worldwide, including the Yokohama Triennale (2020), the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (2019), Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2017), the Venice Biennale (2015), the Istanbul Biennial (2015), the Moscow Biennale (2015), Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany (2012), and the Taipei Biennial (2012), as well as at the Berlinale International Film Festival, the Locarno Film Festival, the Moscow International Experimental Film Festival, and Doclisboa.

Closing Events

Public Programme
Anton Vidokle and the Institute of the Cosmos
Closing Events

The exhibition Anton Vidokle and the Institute of the Cosmos features four films by Anton Vidokle that utilize the expansive themes of Cosmism as a lens to explore biopolitics, immortalism, interplanetarianism, revolution, nutrition, utopia, resurrection, and museology. It also features a specially designed Institute of the Cosmos reading room including a timeline of Cosmism and an extensive selection of historical and contemporary texts exploring Cosmism and related topics.

To accompany this exhibition, SIRIUS presents a public programme this October, including on the last day the exhibition is on view, comprising various events that engage with Vidokle’s practice and Cosmist ideas. These events include screenings, performances and readings, and involve the presentation of commissioned, newly made works by artists based in Cork City and County.

‘The Waters of Silence,’ a performance by The Quiet Club
Friday, 20 October
Free; no booking required

The Quiet Club is a collaboration between Cork City–based artists Danny McCarthy and Mick O’Shea. They employ a wide range of sound-making devices, from homemade instruments to stones, amplified textures, theremins, and field recordings. They perform a responsive and probing sound piece inspired by Cosmist ideas and the role sound plays in Anton Vidokle’s films.

Speculative analysis of the Timeline of Cosmism, led by Miguel Amado
Saturday, 14 October
Free; no booking required

The Timeline of Cosmism is a chronological mapping of critical developments in art, literature, science, politics, technology, and philosophy pertaining to Cosmism. SIRIUS director Miguel Amado examines the impact of Cosmist-related incidents and imagines future events on this trajectory.

‘Institute of the Microcosm: Death and Dreams,’ a lecture-performance by Sarah Long
Saturday, 28 October
Free; no booking required

The artist and writer Sarah Long considers Cosmist ideas through the lens of the Irish cultural context. This lecture-performance includes readings from Long’s autofiction pamphlet “Death and Dreams,” and reflects on narratives that continue to haunt and shape the Irish psyche, including the Famine, colonization, the relationship between religion and mythology, and the personification and politicization of the land.

Anton Vidokle’s Onward to the Stars! play performed by Eibhlís Beirne
Saturday, 28 October
Free; no booking required

Onward to the Stars! is a play by Anton Vidokle based on excerpts from Nikolai Zabolotsky’s poem “Mad Wolf” (1931) and passages from Svetlana Fedorova’s doctoral dissertation on Cosmist ideas. The play, presented for the first time in Ireland, is performed by the artist Eibhlís Beirne. Beirne draws from extensive research on Cosmism-related aesthetics to embody the various characters, including a wolf and a bear, through voice and movement.

Nocturnal viewing of Anton Vidokle’s Cosmist trilogy
Saturday, 28 October
Free; no booking required

Anton Vidokle’s first three films exploring Cosmism, made between 2014 and 2017, consider this philosophy’s historical influence and contemporary relevance. This event offers the unique opportunity to experience the exhibition Anton Vidokle and the Institute of the Cosmos in a nighttime setting.

Image: Anton Vidokle, Autotrofia, still, 2020-23
Saturday 1 July – Saturday 28 October 2023
The Old Yacht Club
Cobh, Co. Cork
Telephone: +353 21 481 3790
Opening hours / start times:
Wednesday – Saturday, 12:00 – 17:00
Admission / price: Free

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