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Soviet science fiction cinema is part of European film heritage, and was a strong influence on Eastern European 20th century science fiction cinema and its visions of the future. Today, Soviet popular culture, including science fiction cinema, dealing with the dawn of the space age, is sometimes categorized within a single archive of "cosmos-themed" Soviet popular culture. The cinematic archive of cosmos-themed films comprises over 45 entries, collected as "films on outer space" in the archives of the Television studio of the Russian Space Agency (Tvroscosmos). The archive has not yet been researched, although it is a collection which is globally exceptional in its thematic focus and genre-diversity. Outer space-related science fiction films account for approximately half of all Soviet science fiction cinematography. The genre of science fiction offered a means of visualizing the anticipated consequences of spaceflight – the so-called beginning of the space age in the 1960s, consolidating images of the (now past) future(s). This project provides research into the dynamics of these past (space) futures, in order to offer a more complex understanding of the memory processes that shape our visions of the past and its future(s). Analysis of cinematic aesthetics is used to investigate how these futures are conceived formally, and whose and which conceptualizations of the future Soviet science fiction cinema thematised, (re)created, and portrayed; to elaborate how films act as mnemonic agents, in shaping different visualizations of the past and its futures for different audiences. These questions are important for the understanding of contemporary (post-)Soviet and post-socialist nostalgia for the Soviet future. This project will examine the aesthetics of post-Sputnik (1957-1990) Soviet space-themed science fiction cinematography as memory practices, using both contextual cultural studies analysis and the methodological toolbox of neoformalist film analysis.
Date:1 May 2017  →  30 Apr 2018
Disciplines:Art studies and sciences, Theatre and performance