‘Kokosmos’ – Celebrating Russian Cosmonautics Day with Post-Soviet Space Aesthetics

Ko = together

Kosmos = space

Shared space = Kokosmos

Over 30 years after the launch of Sputnik 1, the Soviet Union who jump started the space race stood at the forefront of a second golden age of space exploration. The Buran space shuttle and the Energia heavy booster rocket was nearly complete taking flight for the first time in 1988.

60 years after the maiden voyage of Sputnik 1 the Russian space program is but a shell of its Soviet precursor. Its last significant accomplishment the Energia-Buran project took flight only once before the end of the Communist regime and consequently suffocated the Moscow space program. For what has been nearly three decades the Russian space industry has been on the verge of collapse.

With cut out motivations for space exploration the Soviet Union believed that Communism was humanity’s way forward and that humanity’s future resided in space. Space was a playing ground with which the Soviet Union could prove the superior nature of their Communist discipline as all the while the Cold War gave added ideological incentive.

Not an ideological nation, Post-Soviet Russia can in many ways be regarded as a nostalgic nation. To this day Soviet space achievements are strewn all over Moscow.

And so we look back to a national hero, Yuri Gagarin who comes to mind when thinking of Russian Cosmonautics Day celebrated each year on the 12th April since 1962. 1 hour and 48 minutes – Gagarin circled the earth aboard the Vostok 1 spacecraft. His flight was a feat for the Soviet space program and enlivened a new tiding in the history of space exploration. Demonstrations in Moscow and other cities in the USSR was second in scale only to World War II Victory Parades.

Anna Radchenko celebrates Russian Cosmonautics Day with the creation of an abstract video piece which allowed her to experiment with techniques and fully explore the Post-Soviet space theme as well as alienesque aesthetics. I had an interview with her about ‘Kokosmos’ to find out more:

What is the narrative of the piece?

I grew up in post-soviet Russia and I remember constantly dreaming about space. It’s something that was part of our lives, wondering over what was out there. This is basically the result of that. I wanted to depict almost an entity and what that god-like presence would look and feel like. Overall it’s a very abstract piece, a way for me to fully express my aesthetic and experiment with techniques.

Why did you want to create a video that speaks to Russia’s infatuation with space?

I guess dreams about space travels are part of my DNA. When you are in school as a post-soviet child you constantly hear about the heroism of Yuri Gagarin (the first man in space). There are also so many great sci-fi books that teenagers of my generation grew up with, so I just think those ideas have always been present somewhere in the background.

Could you please discuss the Post-Soviet space theme and how a neon colour palette ties in with that?

The whole concept had to fit with the post-soviet theme. As I mentioned, space exploration is something that is very much part of Russian culture, and as such Kokosmos had to reflect that in the choice of music, colour and designers too. For example, I combined elements of traditional Russian folklore, such as the “Kokoshnik” – the headpiece in the scene with multiple eyes – with modern design talent such as Anya Komyagina, Go Authentic and o5o.moscow.

Could you elaborate on the choice of music?

The music was a big part of the concept. I wanted to make sure it was made specifically for this video and did not resemble a real language. It had to feel and sound like something out of this world, hence why I asked to the creative music and sound design duo Playhead to collaborate with singer songwriter Alyusha Chagrin to come up with something new and almost alien-like.


Director and Executive Producer: Anna RadchenkoKODE media

Co-director: Mikhail Svjatogor

DOP: Roman Yudin

Producer: Anastasia Limarenko

Model: Yana Dobroliubova

CG Artist and Supervisor: Murat Kılıç

CG artist: Yanis Georges

CG compositing: Murat Kılıç

Music and Sound Design: Lister Rossel, Utkucan Eken – We Are Playhead

Singer: Alyusha Chagrin

Editors: Suga Supiah, Ikki Dhesi

Colour: Tobias Tomkins – CHEAT

Post-production producer: Jack Goodwin – KODE media

Make-up: Darya Kholodnykh

Stylist: Anna Bakhareva

Fashion designers: o5o.moscow, AVA11, Go Authentic, Anya Komyagina

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