Varvara Keidan Shavrova (RCA) - 2021-22 Students

Dreamworlds of flight in the age of surveillance capitalism

One day in 1932, a Russian Avant-garde artist Vladimir Tatlin walked out of his studio in the centre of Moscow and travelled to a nearby field where he tested his bird-like flying machine, Letatlin. In my research I will re-examine the conjunction between art, technology and the state in relation to Soviet utopianism, Russian cosmism and modernist avant-garde, and I will develop new models for ‘poetic technologies’ that can present a critical dimension towards neo-liberal modes of innovation.

Looking at the examples of the Russian avant-garde artists who engaged with the dreamworld of flight and applied it to building the new Revolutionary state, I propose to adopt this birds-eye view of the modernists, and to use this particular moment to radically reengage with flight, dream and state formation. Can an artist today become actively engaged in rethinking and re-conceptualizing the idea of flight, where the artistic investigation of flight becomes a mirror held up to the current reality of a pandemic-dominated, neo-liberally governed world?

Bringing these aspects of my research question together in a way that enables a radically new viewpoint of state formation – from an ’eye in the sky’ perspective – will help me to re-conceive and re-imagine the notion of the state in the aftermath of neoliberal surveillance capitalism.

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