Video, 34 min 35 sec
Supported by Gogova Foundation.
Station YE5 is a two-channel video essay dedicated to blending environmental and ideological contexts at a special astrophysical observatory. This video is part of a large-scale project that investigates the heritage of the era of Soviet modernism in the village of Nizhny Arkhyz, in the Russian Caucasus. The aim of the work is to reveal and study the inertial effects of Soviet modernist installations on the environment, and the nature and degree of mutual influences between this environment and the social fabric of the village.
Nizhny Arkhyz is home to the Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a Soviet science facility centred around a six-meter telescope, which was completed in 1975 and remained the largest telescope in the world until 1993. In Nizhny Arkhyz the history of Soviet astrophysics and Soviet modernism mixes with the everyday thinking of contemporary people.
The video essay presents the stories of people who have been influenced to various extents by Soviet artifacts and the specific geography of the place. In the absence of a documented history of the village and of any taxonomy, the study of the past is bound to make its own interpretation of many events, so that the reality of the picture, which the study produces, can be called into question. The artist interacts with the ghosts of Soviet modernism and the forces of nature, sending a message to the faceless nature of things, through which they acquire meaning and spirit.
Vassily Sumin (b. 1990, Zheleznogorsk) is an artist, whose practice is based on transforming knowledge of various disciplines—science, ecology, mythology, political and social—into art projects.
Sumin participated in group shows: Measure of Chaos (The Popov Communication Museum, St. Peter…