Gagarin's Tree    
An interview with philosopher Ovidiu Tichindeleanu engages issues of space exploration, imagination and propaganda in the socialist utopia, the post-communist condition as liberal colonisation, linked – Ovidiu proposes – to other sites of decolonisation through a new historical consciousness.
The protagonist's reflection departs from the unstable nature of today's ruins: these are the ruinous future of different pasts, of different messianisms, or modes of conceiving the notion of historical destination in the last decades. Ovidiu's analysis revolves around the reciprocal construction of pasts and futures, ideas of renewal or historical horizon, temporal or spatial 'elsewheres'. The backdrop for the conversation the film proposes is the Gagarin Youth Centre, in Chisinau, Moldavia, where most of the footage was filmed. Now deserted, and waiting to be replaced by a construction more adapted to today's oligarchic liberalism, the building reads like a palimpsest of unrealized historical projections, perhaps captured in the large mosaic of outer space labor: a worker ploughing the universe.
"An entirely different history of the world was about to be written. The feeling and the memory of this divergence is still active and alive, and it is awakened in connection with those utopias that actually became daily life and are now the history of the people who grew up in the tradition of real socialism. But if the post-communist transition meant a colonisation, and if real socialism was partially an attempt to write a history divergent from that of Western modernity, then what is left of that, what is alive?" Ovidiu's insistence on communism as a heresy, as deviation from other forms of imagining the modern selfhood and society, may have left something behind, a residue that might activate its catalytic, transformative potential. In his words, this is "the power of a dream to bring people together and create another history".


   
film, 22'50" / 2016    




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