Art in the Age of Technological Resurrection (Fall 2015)

In the 1880s and 1890s Russian philosopher Nikolai Fedorov developed the project of the ‘Common Task,’ which consisted in the creation of the technological, social, and political conditions under which it would be possible to resurrect all humans who have ever lived—through technological, artificial means. Here, the Christian promise of immortality and resurrection had to be realized by technology and science. Above all, however, Fedorov believed in the power of social organization, and in this sense he was a true socialist. True social justice meant for Fedorov also justice for the dead—the end of the privileging of the living in their relationship to the dead. This artificially produced immortality was for him a way to unite the right technology with the right social organization. After the October Revolution, Fedorov’s ideas became especially attractive, since materialist philosophy constituted the core on which Communist ideology was built. Led by artist Anton Vidokle, the seminar will focus on looking at historical and contemporary works of art, literature, film, science, and political organization catalyzed by Fedorov's ideas.

Course Schedule:

Thursday, November 19
Session 1: This is Cosmos
Introduction to Nikolai Fedorov's "Common Task" and screening of Anton Vidokle's This is Cosmos, (30 Min) followed by discussion.

Friday, November 20
Session 2: The Red Star
Screening of Aelita (1926, feature length) followed by discussion of Alexander Bogdanov material.

Monday, November 23
Session 3: A Museum of Immortality
Close reading of Boris Groys essay and screening of A Museum of Immortality (30 min)

Tuesday, November 24
Session 4: Communist Revolution Was Caused By The Sun
Screening of Communist Revolution Was Caused By The Sun (30 min) followed by a discussion of the scientific paradigm of Russian Cosmism.

Wednesday, November 25
Session 5: Cosmism in America
Screening of Self/Less and discussion of McKenzie Wark's essay.

All Sessions: 6-9 PM