Russian Space History Soviet and Russian Space Flight

Russian Space History — Imagineering the Cosmos: Astrofuturism at the Movies

The continuum of images in Asif’s last post¬†attests to the emergence of a distinct visual vocabulary of space flight long before it became a reality. It is not coincidental that the first of these images is from Yakov Protazanov’s¬†Aelita, a 1924 film that enthralled moviegoers but left official critics scratching their head. In “Imagining the Cosmos,” Asif situated the film’s ideological complexity as well as its striking visuals within an astonishingly diverse network of early-twentieth-century cosmic enthusiasm. Here I would like to think about a different set of relations between cinema and the cosmos, based not so much on modes of representation but rather on the fundamental convergences between the process of making movies and the “co-production of imagination and engineering” long before space flight became a reality. The interface between engineering and imagination underlying the very apparatus and materiality of the cinematic medium — which becomes particularly visible in special effects — links the history of Soviet space culture with the spectacular pre-histories of its future projected on the big screen.