Collection / Works / Remnants of the Future by Uriel Orlow

UK, 2010-2012
18 minutes 16 seconds Colour, Sound
BluRay, HD Digital file

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Remnants of the Future is a contemplative sci-fi documentary about Mush, a housing project just outside of the north Armenian town of Gyumri (formely Alexandropol and Leninakan). Mush is named after the once flourishing Armenian town in Eastern Anatolia, which in 1915, during the Armenian genocide, became the site of massacres and deportations. Construction of the 'new' Mush began a few months after the major Spitak earthquake in 1988, which destroyed many of Gyumri's housing blocks and made thousands of people homeless. Promised by M. Gorbachev to be completed within two years, construction of the new Soviet-style suburb eventually came to an abrupt halt as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and the Russian construction workers were recalled by Moscow. The newly independent Armenian state did not have the means to finish this ambitious housing project and it has since remained in a ghostly state of incompletion and near desertion, inhabited migrating birds and gleaners who eke an existence out of slowly dismantling the Soviet style housing blocks. At the end of the film they are visited by the Phosphorescent Woman, a time traveling character from Mayakovsky’s play The Bathhouse. The film is accompanied by a sound-scape by Mikhail Karikis using the radio waves emitted by dying stars (pulsars), which still reach us after the star has died and which were first mistaken for intelligent life messages from outer space.