Renewal of life’s possibilities
The moment finally came when we could leave our isolation. It had been a long time since we had had any other company, and we wondered how the world would look to us when we stepped out into it.
We had our projects during those weeks: P tinkered in her workshop and obsessed over Tsiolkovsky's designs; M read formalism. Later, she theorised the effect of our return as a form of ostranenie. D, the ocean sailor among us, talked of the Potemkin. Our cabin had become a living place in both senses of the phrase, an expression and outcome of the energies of the revolution embodied in us. It was the smallest soviet, and the most self-contained.
We wondered, on our return, who the audience of our reports could possibly be. Who, now, would read them?
Our first impression, that the world was now emptied of people—through some catastrophe of unimaginable scale—was of course not correct. Our inability to recognise our surroundings was explained as the result of a navigation error that set us down far from Moscow, in a South Pacific port city. But we hadn't anticipated the temporal effect of our long interstellar journey. Our month of travel at enormous speeds had, somehow, corresponded to over a century on our planet. Our space rocket, launched in 1919, during those frenzied days of creativity and progress, when the revolution was young, had returned to 2020. We could not explain this. Our comrades were no more, and our revolution was no longer new. We had returned, after months seeking out new worlds for humanity, to a planet more alien than them all.
Could we detect, on the empty streets, the traces of our revolution? Or was our cabin—blue and teeming, full of the necessities of life, full of the essential and the frivolous, full of models for the new world we had hoped to take to the stars—was it all that was left of the future?
You departed for the stars in 1919?
Yes. Tatlin designed the launch tower. It seems to have been forgotten how advanced the revolutionary spirit was in those times.
What did you do during that month?
We were disappointed in the results of our search. The worlds we visited offered no ground for us to occupy.
Your projects while travelling—they were to keep you busy?
Oh no. Inside our cabin we were fill of life and energy. We worked constantly at a renewal of life’s possibilities.
You took the results of the revolution with you? Do you think they remain relevant to the world you returned to? After all this time?
The revolution has no results. It is a spirit of ceaseless creation. That’s what we did. We hope to be able to carry it on now we’ve stepped outside.
You believe that a month of revolutionary fervour resulted in more progress than a century of history?
- for Gallery Faux, May 2020