Cosmism was an interdisciplinary movement intertwining Marxist discourse, Orthodox Christianity, Enlightenment thought, and Eastern philosophical traditions, advancing speculative models of international socialism, the quest for immortality, and the potential for resurrection through technological means in an imagined not so distant future. These visionary models provided a groundwork for discussion on the materialization of these aspirations within the realms of art, society, and science. How does the historical movement of cosmism, which found an important echo in the Soviet socialist experiment, provide the ground for (re)thinking the temporal relations between cosmos and commons, between community and communism? What is the relation between ancient cosmologies and cosmist ideas about death and immortality?

The discussion will be complemented by a screening of Gilgamesh: She Who Saw the Deep (2022, 47′, directed by Anton Vidokle and Pelin Tan). Inspired by Sumerian cosmology as well as the philosophy of cosmism, the film follows the journey of Gilgamesh—part God, part human ruler of Uruk, one of the first historical metropolises—in this remarkable staging of a female heroine on her quest for immortality. Accompanied by an original score by Alva Noto, the film features an all-woman cast of actors from the Amed Theater in Diyarbakır. It interweaves the cosmist discourse with the quest for youth and immortality in one of the oldest literary works discovered to date.

Boris Groys is a philosopher, essayist, art critic, media theorist, and an internationally renowned expert on Soviet-era art and literature, especially the Russian avant-garde. He is a Global Distinguished Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University, a Senior Research Fellow at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe, and a professor of philosophy at the European Graduate School (EGS). His work engages radically different traditions, from French post-structuralism to modern Russian philosophy, yet is firmly situated at the juncture of aesthetics and politics.

Anton Vidokle is an artist, editor of e-flux journal, and chief curator of the 14th Shanghai Biennale: Cosmos Cinema. Vidokle’s work has been exhibited internationally at Documenta 13 and the 56th Venice Biennale. Vidokle’s films have been presented at Bergen Assembly, Shanghai Biennale, Berlinale International Film Festival, Forum Expanded, Gwangju Biennale, Center Pompidou, Tate Modern, Garage Museum, Istanbul Biennial, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Tensta Konsthall, Blaffer Art Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Lincoln Center, MMCA Seoul, the Latvian Center for Contemporary Art, and others.

In English

Boris Groys and Anton Vidokle
In conversation with Marietta Kesting and Elena Vogman

Organized by

Elena Vogman and Marietta Kesting

An ICI Berlin Event in cooperation with the research project ‘Madness, Media, Milieus. Reconfiguring the Humanities in Postwar Europe’ (Volkswagen Stiftung/Bauhaus-Universität Weimar)

Film still Gilgamesh: She Who Saw the Deep (2022, Anton Vidokle & Pelin Tan)

Film still from Gilgamesh: She Who Saw the Deep (2022, Anton Vidokle & Pelin Tan). Courtesy of the artists.