RATAN 21.33

Researchers: Evgeniya Berchul, Julia Beslemennova, Stuart Turner, Iani Zeigerman
Curators: Nicolay Boyadjiev, Daria Kravchuk
Project website

RATAN. 21.33. Backcasting Kardashev is a curatorial concept, addressing the theme of life and afterlife of the world's largest radio telescope, RATAN-600, located on the territory of the Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Science in the village of Nizhniy Arkhyz, Karachay-Cherkess Republic.

This project’s manifesto is directed on shifting the traditional angle on RATAN-600, perceiving it not even through the prism of art, but as an art piece in itself. Representing the identity of the region, unique aura of this construction, spreads much further than it might be recognised by virtue of its scientific characteristics. The curatorial intervention brings another dimension to the visibility of RATAN-600. It reveals its importance and compatibility to the world’s most significant land art.

The diameter of the RATAN-600 is 576 m. The circumference - 1809 m. The average speed of an adult is 1.4 meter/sec. Which means that in 1293 seconds you can walk along the circumference of the RATAN-600, which is approximately 21min 33sec.

Inspired by the actual footprint of the radio telescope, curators used the sound piece by one of the researchers from the Backcasting K1 team as a key to unlock the claim mentioned above. The music was assembled simultaneously with the Backcasting K1 moving image project – manipulating samples, found sounds and using software synthesis to add a further dimension to their experiments in place-making: listening as an alternative way to imagine future versions of civilisation on Earth.

The specificity of the sight has enhanced the awareness that the project has to be strictly site-specific.
RATAN 21.33 describes the relationship between physical location and the human body. The duration of the sound walk is set by the circumference of the RATAN-600 and the length of the accompanying musical composition.

The suggested vision re-contextualises the known role of the RATAN-600 structure, mobilises the site-specific and the human domains, functioning on the intersection of art, science, architecture and performance. This immersive element plunges us into the field of performativity of architecture. RATAN-600 as a metaphor endows the concept behind the structure of the radio telescope with supplementary meanings, which it is up to the visitor to delve into or to bypass.

Backcasting K1 is a project by a group of researchers from The Terraforming, Strelka Institute, about energy, civilisation and planetarity. It repurposes a scale, invented by Soviet astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev in 1964 to classify extraterrestrial civilisations, to assess what planetary civilisation means here on earth. The Kardashev scale proposed that huge amounts of energy would be a fundamental requirement of any advanced technological civilisation. The center piece of Backcasting K1, 2020, is a two-channel video installation. It depicts four scenarios for the development of our civilisation. The video is accompanied by the voice of the narrator, who describes the two variables: the first is whether most of the energy produced is used on Earth or in space, the second is the method of generating energy. The researchers made a “hindsight” for each of the scenarios, tracing the chain of events backwards from 2600 to 2020.

Made on