Presents: The Eastern European Apocalypse


On The Silver Globe
Andrzej Żuławski, 1988

Wandering cosmonauts, lunar escape, and the return voyage. The serialized attempts to colonize the moon are recounted through a dysfunctional narrative, riddled with angels of god and man. Repeated, unexpected crash-landings on the moon breed a new civilization wrought in images of their past: the victory over the moon reinstalls humanity's exports - religion, violence, war. It is hard to be a god: intergenerational trauma spirals downwards, and each iteration of lunar-humanity is further militant, degenerate and human - a domestic alienness (or: indigenous occupants). Speculative origin stories approach the zero point of falling stars. As memories are relayed back to the other present, Earth’s inter-dimensional interference traces back a desire to prevent the future: a few more cosmonauts arrive to the scene only to capitulate further to the co-emergent animality on the ground. Cross-pollination breeds both civil war and new “life,” old messiahs and tangential Earths in the ‘ideal’ image of the one prior.

O-bi, O-ba, The End of Civilization
Piotr Szulkin, 1985

Humanity waits in a fallout shelter washed in blue fluorescence and a self-deceptive promise that help is on the way. The aftermath of a nuclear catastrophe prior encloses this damp civilization with starvation, delirium - and most delinquent - complicity: Our ‘persuasion specialist’ navigates this subterranean drama only to find his earlier state-funded conspiracies in decline, internally rotting, as future-leadened scenario planning becomes exposed through time as vacuous in meaning. The “Ark” is not merely a half-truth in remission, but a property of the lethargy inhabiting these crowded quarters, contagious, generated from the parameters of degeneration... The escape from the outside (a looming radioactive ice field) is deluded with both biblical references and secular idols. The habitation is cold, carnivorous with apparent cracks in the ceiling. Eschatology not only points to the end times, but it’s negligent arrival - dettered for another time.

Letters from a Dead Man
Konstantin Lopushanskiy, 1986

A future breathing through gas masks, thrashing sandstorms and communicating to nothing: all the contingent results of a nuclear catastrophe (Chernobyl). A nobel prize physicist dwells in a fallout shelter, oftentimes writing to a dead son while other times sitting around a table of expiring humanists, contemplating the vacant present that once was. The radioactive outside is slowly intruding inwards - the wasteland grows - as the looming threat of an uninhabitable planet is empirically becoming true. Nihilism settles in, locates a host within humanity, and hardwires a waning civilization which contemplates all of history as one prolonged suicide. The extinction of the species will be marked by migraines followed by amnesia, resultant symptoms of the end of humanity, but also by a singularly accidental twilight - genetic and or bacterial - groundless by design.

Andrej Tarkovsky, 1979

Sepia-toned reality, industrial landscapes, rust-covered train tracks, residues of scorched-earth. In the near future, adjacent a nuclear facility, a surreal expedition to “the zone” manifests fantasies and psychoses alike. Out of vocational desperation, three strangers accompany the stalker - a cartographer of liminal spaces - through military encampment, shattered colonnades and derelict warehouses to the zone. Questionable meteorites and suspicious relics color an otherworldly climate, imposed upon a naturally technicolored environment. The quietest place in the world awaits human intrusion; each visitation session is each their own clinic, where one’s innermost wish (the truth of fantasy) comes true. A few frictionless mystical states of self-annihilation later, geography opens up, a conversation takes place, and then the world resumes - rotating at an orbit not unlike ours, imprisoned at an inert pace.