Book launch: Russian Cosmism, editor Boris Groys in conversation with Claire Bishop and Anton Vidokle

The launch of Boris Groys' newest edited volume Russian Cosmism, co-published by e-flux and The MIT Press (January 2018), features Groys in conversation with art historian Claire Bishop and artist Anton Vidokle.

Cosmism emerged in Russia before the October Revolution and developed through the 1920s and 1930s; like Marxism and the European avant-garde, two other movements that shared this intellectual moment, Russian Cosmism rejected the contemplative for the transformative, aiming to create not merely new art or philosophy but a new world. Cosmism went the furthest in its visions of transformation, calling for the end of death, the resuscitation of the dead, and free movement in cosmic space. This volume, edited by Boris Groys, collects crucial texts—many available in English for the first time—by the radical biopolitical utopianists of Russian Cosmism.

Cosmism was developed by the Russian philosopher Nikolai Fedorov in the late nineteenth century; he believed that humans had an ethical obligation not only to care for the sick but to cure death using science and technology; outer space was the territory of both immortal life and infinite resources. After the revolution, a new generation pursued Fedorov’s vision. Cosmist ideas inspired visual artists, poets, filmmakers, theater directors, novelists (Tolstoy and Dostoevsky read Fedorov’s writings), architects, and composers, and influenced Soviet politics and technology. In the 1930s, Stalin quashed Cosmism, jailing or executing many members of the movement. Today, when the philosophical imagination has again become entangled with scientific and technological imagination, the works of the Russian Cosmists are newly alive and relevant.

Claire Bishop is a Professor in the PhD Program in Art History at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her books include Installation Art: A Critical History (2005), Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (2012), and Radical Museology, or, What’s Contemporary in Museums of Contemporary Art?(2013). 

Boris Groys is an art critic, media theorist and philosopher. He is Global Distinguished Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University, Senior Research Fellow at the Karlsruhe University of Art and Design, and Professor of Philosophy at the European Graduate School (EGS).

Anton Vidokle is an artist and co-editor of e-flux journal.

Russian Cosmism, edited by Boris Groys
e-flux and The MIT Press, January 2018
Hardcover, 264 p, 6x9 in. 
ISBN: 9780262037433

Contributors
Alexander Bogdanov 
Alexander Chizhevsky
Nikolai Fedorov 
Boris Groys
Valerian Muravyev 
Alexander Svyatogor
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

Preface by Anton Vidokle, Brian Kuan Wood
Introduction by Boris Groys, Editor

Translations from Russian by
Thomas Campbell, Ian Dreiblatt, Anastasiya Osipova, Caroline Rees, Anastasia Skoybedo

For more information, contact program@e-flux.com.

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