Philosopher Mikhail Klimin will discuss the evolution of the idea of the end of times in Russian Culture. Drawing on historical evidence ranging from the materials related to the Cholera Riots of the 1830–1831 to the texts on Raskol of the 17th century, he will try to apply his theory to the contemporary art context in conversation with artist Evgeny Antufiev.
In Russian culture, shifts in the development of traditional society have often been accompanied by the appearance of new, anxiety-inducing expectations of the end of the world. At such moments, new eschatological themes come into the open. For example, during the Church Schism in the mid-17th century, people expected the end of the world to come as a result of the appearance of potatoes, tobacco, and the sign of the cross being made with three fingers. During the Cholera Riots in 1830–1831, it was said that evil came into the world through pharmaceutical powder and roamed the Earth in the guise of a horrible old hag. The Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 lived up to eschatological expectations: the “Antichrist” was toppled, and the old regime was destroyed. Thus a “new time” and a new point of departure appeared with each new historical turn or discovery.
That is why this session will begin with the story of how Vladimir Lenin sent a young sailor to find the oldest watchmaker, who could reset the time of the new world. At the same time, the following questions will be raised: can atomic decay lead to expectations of the end of the world? what images of good and evil did culture create during the Cold War? where did radioactive mushrooms in Soviet cinema come from and what happened at the Isotope Cafe? The discovery of thermonuclear energy not only led to the appearance of the energy of heat and death, but also numerous new themes that have had a considerable impact on art and culture.