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Homo Sovieticus

(project in progress)


HOMO SOVIETICUS

The “Homo Sovieticus” project initially sought to document existing Lenin monuments in Ukraine to understand why they remained and what purpose they were now serving. In September 2013, the monuments were still dotting the Post-Soviet landscape. In 2014, after the Euromaidan uprising, many of the Lenin statues were toppled by protesters as the fallout turned deadly in the Donbass region. As if by premonition, some of the project’s documented locations coincided with the fault lines of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

With these developments, the project shifted from nostalgia to analysis of a nation’s psyche. Using A. Bogdanov’s sci-fi novel “Red Star: The First Bolshevik Utopia” (1908) as a touchstone, “Homo Sovieticus” explores the forgotten ideals and visions of a society transformed by revolution. Narrated in Esperanto, the video conflates documentary history with the contemporary reality of political strife, confusion, and optimism, as yet another revolution holds new promises for a conflict torn nation.


Research & documentation

A. Bogdanov playing chess with Lenin, 1908. (UHA Getty Images)

A. Bogdanov playing chess with Lenin, 1908. (UHA Getty Images)

"Red Star" (1908) novel by A.Bogdanov published in Esperanto, 1929

"Red Star" (1908) novel by A.Bogdanov published in Esperanto, 1929

Lenin lying in state, 1924 (Getty Images)

Lenin lying in state, 1924 (Getty Images)

Locations of Lenin monuments in Donbass, Ukraine

Locations of Lenin monuments in Donbass, Ukraine

Lenin monument in Kiev, 2013

Lenin monument in Kiev, 2013

Protesters topple Lenin monument in Kiev, 2013. (REUTERS, Stoyan Nenov)

Protesters topple Lenin monument in Kiev, 2013. (REUTERS, Stoyan Nenov)


Video stills