The Last Soviet, 2010

The Last Soviet (2010) tells the story of Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, who was stranded on the Mir space station for 311 days in 1991 during the collapse of the Soviet Union. Video footage of a model of the interior of Mir constructed in Tribe’s studio is intercut with various archival materials related to this moment in history, including film footage of a performance of the ballet Swan Lake that was used to censor Russian news broadcasts of the political turmoil, images of tanks on the streets of Moscow, and photographs depicting aspects of the Russian space program. Throughout the image sequences, a male voiceover recounting the forgotten cosmonaut’s story from a personal point of view in English with Russian subtitles alternates with a female voiceover giving a historical account of the period in Russian with English subtitles. Tribe constructed the dialogue, which was recited by actors, so that there is a brief delay between the stories and the images that they apparently explain, enacting the fragmentary nature of historical accounts that are cobbled together through individual memory and bits and pieces of archival documents. Although The Last Soviet deliberately invokes the language of the documentary, it is impossible to distinguish fact from intentional fiction, calling into question the reliability of memory and the ways in which we invoke it to catalog and record our lives

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The Last Soviet, 2010
Video projection with sound, 10:44 min
Excerpt 17 seconds