Poetic Dimension of Solar Cosmology

Anton Vidokle’s contribution to Moscow Biennale 2015 was a mixture of screening and performance. “The Communist Revolution Was Caused by the Sun” is a video in which Vidokle deepens his research on Russian cosmism and presents the argument of Alexander Chizhevsky who claimed that human history (such as wars, revolutions etc.) is caused by activity of the Sun. Philosopher and culture theorist Keti Chukhrov comments on this project.

The second film of Anton Vidokle’s trilogy continues to research the issues of immortality developed in Russian cosmism. The genre of the film oscillates between the sci-fi documentary and the psychedelic instructions of a séance of hypnosis. It brings forth the theme of solar energy and refers to its research in works by Alexander Chizhevsky. Unlike many contemporary theorists who when ruminating on planetary geo-physics consider solar energy as part of the global capital and its technological and economical potency (M. Serres, M. Pasquinelli) Vidokle relying on Chizhevsky emphasizes the meta-historical and poetic dimension of the solar cosmology. Сhizhevsky is known to ground his theory of solar historiometry on the 11 year solar cycles, that manifest itself in various biospheric procedures — physical as well as psychic — the impact of which ultimately tells on politics, economy, wars and revolutions. After his 8 year imprisonment the scientist was sent to compulsory settlement to Karaganda (1954) where he headed the laboratory of structural analysis of blood and continued his experiments on the aeroionization affecting the longitude of living organisms.

The footage featuring mundane life of Karaganda residents unfolds as a counterpoint to this advanced sci-fi tale about early Soviet breakthroughs aimed at the conquest of outer space and the domestication of extraterrestrial noosphere. Nevertheless, it is exactly this civilizational gap between “mere” life of post-soviet rural residents and the futurological projects of Russian cosmism that emphasizes that the goal of the latter was not so much technical acceleration, but the common cause of human lot in their struggle against limitations of earthly life. The more so poignant then seems the funeral feast of the Karaganda residents: they gather at the cemetery to pay tribute to their deceased ancestors — the ritual, without which no zeal in the name of the common cause would be possible. Then, strangely, the ‘poor life’ a la Pasolini’s villagers or a la Platonov’s desert nation (“Jan”) forms a monistic but dialectical unity with the quest for the cosmic dimension.