Schedule for the day after tomorrow

Essay by Aleksei Borisionok
HISK laureates catalog / 2016

— Comrade Gorbovsky, — he said. — I beg you, take it.
He reached Gorbovsky a long heavy bundle.
— What is it? — asked Gorbovsky.
— My latest painting. My name is Iogann Surd.
— Iogann Surd - repeated Gorbovsky. — I did not know you were here.
— Take it. It weighs very little. This is the best thing I did in my life.
I brought it here for the exhibition. The title is ‘The Wind’...
Something knotted Gorbovsky’s stomach.
— Give it to me, — he said, and gently took the parcel.
Surd bowed.
— Thank you, Gorbovsky, — he said and disappeared into the crowd.1

What could be depicted in the painting, which was saved among the few other folders with the research documentation, scientifiс instruments and hundreds of children who had the chance to escape from the two waves, collapsing towards each other? Why in 2140 in the time of interstellar flights, p-waves and discovery of new forms of life, is the painting still saved as important? Apparently, this form of painting is traditional: oil or watercolor; it is unlikely — it is a drawing or a pattern of smart dust, microparticles or a trap for Cherenkov radiation. Is it nostalgia for a terrestrial wind of 1940 or a more sophisticated image of nuclear wind or the dance of photons and atoms, contemporary art of the 2140ies, so to speak? What could still be depicted on it? What could it look like? Would this image be an abstract or a figurative one? Why is the painting called ‘The Wind’ in quotation marks? What could the exhibition look like where this painting was displayed? Did it have a vernissage? Was the catalogue printed? What place does art occupy in the accelerated and interplanetary society of developed communism? How does art relate to technology? If the development of technology is interconnected with the new expressive mediums of art, how could this particular form of art survive? Were they only ashes dreamed of by Malevich, the ashes of all the old art or its volгmetric projection?
What role does art play in the colonization of new space bodies? Will art take on the same role as in the colonization of Latin America by Old Europe, when it was used as an image and knowledge production signifying the Other as a barbarian, a cannibal, a witch? It was also displaced from its original context, secularised from its religious or mythical status. In the very dialectic of Enlightenment, it becomes clear — "[...] enlightenment also recognizes itself in the old myths. No matter which myths are invoked against it, by being used as arguments they are made to acknowledge the very principle of the corrosive rationality of which enlightenment stands accused."2
The socialist desire of the future is embodied in the view of Soviet citizens after the great tragedy (and here it does not matter, the war and the concentration camp, or the unsuccessful science experiment) of astronauts, cultural workers, scientists and teachers in the last part of the Brest monumental mosaic ‘Scientific progress’. The image of a woman carrying on her arm the half-cosmic, the disproportionately shaped body of the child, which is a reference to Christian iconography, with a background of geometric abstract areas of forests, cities, and space with a predominance of blue. The same effect — perhaps, like the image of the wind from 2140. The same questioning gaze from the past on the status of modernization.
This effect of enlightenment is also at the core of the Soviet project of science fiction of the 60ies, which still includes symbols, iconographic images, and a pagan and Christian understanding of time. All updated after the moment of the crisis. The black chart of Shust could take the place of the mosaics of Krivoblotsky on the 3rd household of the electromechanical plant, which is gradually dying and surrendering its territory to contemporary merchants and entrepreneurs. These images are similar, in their questioning of the status of a scientific experiment, utopia, a and faith. The wells of accelerators and colliders from which a scientist catches neutrino with an Egyptian rod, a granite slab out of which a thistle grows, a sip of ‘dead water’, the antidote of which is the activated charcoal tablets, packed on Belmedpreparaty plant.

1.Strugatsky, Arkady, and Boris. Far Rainbow.
2.Horkheimer, Max and Adorno, Theodor W. Dialectic of Enlightenment.

Related link: Absorption at «Ў» Gallery (Minsk, Belarus) 2017