Nikolay Smirnov

Nikolay Smirnov / b. 1982, Russia / lives and works in Moscow

The 5th Ural Biennial Main Project features the work:
«Death, Immortality, and the Powers of the Subterranean World»

The project involves:
necromancer Anatoly Moskvin (Nizhny Novgorod), batyr Klaus Vetter (Yakutsk), regional ethnographer Yuri Dmitriev (Petrozavodsk), general Konstantin Petrov (Public Safety Concept), permafrost ontologies researcher Charlotte Alexandra Wrigley (London), Mammoth Museum (Yakutsk)


as well as artists:
Alexander Agafonov (Perm), Jess (Ekaterinburg), Alena Koziol (Tyumen), Olga Mezhevich (Ekaterinburg), Juliana Semenova (Yakutsk), Egor Sleptsov (Yakutsk), Eugene Strelkov (Nizhny Novgorod), Irina Filatova (Moscow), Antonina Shadrina (Yakutsk) Sergey Yudichev (Chelyabinsk)


Project coordinators:
Daria Antipova (Ekaterinburg), Elena Vasilieva (Yakutsk)


Chthonic (subterranean) forces possess a number of resources important to humans, and are inextricably linked to the solution of the issue of death/immortality. The project is devoted to the study of human chthonopolitics which turns out to be the Gaia-politics, namely building relations with the inner forces of the Earth. This essay-exhibition is built in accordance with the narrative, which has three semantic centers:

1. Different mythological and religious ideas about the world beneath the Earth’s surface;

2. The positivist discourse of the modern era about the conquest of nature, penetration under the earth’s surface, and the extraction of resources;

3. Hybrid Contemporaneity in which new technologies are combined with animism.

The narrative of the exhibition is not historical. Rather, it is concentrated on the complex nature of Contemporaneity. It aims to demonstrate the complicated character of ideas connected with the Subterranean world today, and to show the origin of these ideas.

Ideas of the Subterranean world today are often heirs of earlier sacral meanings of the Chthonic in new hybrid forms. For example, new techno-secular projects that are trying to find resources for immortality under the surface of the Earth on closer examination turn out to be closely related to sacred archaic beliefs in the power of the Lower World.