2018–2020 Konstantin Mitrokhov (Russia)

Konstantin Mitrokhov is interested in combining his background in cybernetics and systems analysis (National Research Nuclear University MEPhI) with the (science-)fictive, material, and critical discourses around contemporary technologies. His recent video Common Task is a case in point: produced during a residency at The New Normal post-graduate research programme (Strelka Institute, Moscow), it is a piece of speculative fiction that draws from a tradition of Russian cosmism, Soviet cybernetics research, and a new belief system known as ‘Neocosmism’, which promotes the end of death by means of virtual reality. Konstantin’s work is a good example of what theory can do to practice. Obviously, theory does not always find a direct correlation with reality (the latter, in fact, tends to exceed any theoretical prediction), but can be used as a tool to understand changes that otherwise would remain unexplained. This is evident in his photographic project Hometown, in which the ideas of Fredric Jameson about ‘capitalism’s permanent crisis which it solves through expansion’ are experienced in practice through the transformation of Konstantin’s home town near Moscow, prey to a rapid urban development, mingled with personal memories of the past and a sense of alienation towards a present that challenges any attempt at identifying with it.