35mm transferred to HD, 5.1 sound, 8’ looping

See the project blog here 

VOSTOK is a project based on the scientific discovery of a prehistoric lake submerged in Antarctica. In 2012, scientists from the russian research base of VOSTOK took samples from the lake 4 km below the frozen surface. These samples are “time capsules” of the time when the continent of Antarctica began to freeze. Curious about the existence of life and the landscape of the prehistoric ocean, a russian scientist sent a miniature submarine to the cold waters of the subglacial lake. These records contain an investigation of the representation of undersea life at the South Pole, showing sub-polar lakes, russian submarines, the pre-glacial age and the moons of Jupiter.

VOSTOK is a project that brings together multiple media like film, cineperformance, book and disc (LP).

Each project deals with different aspects of the same fictional universe, developing a complex relationship between the narrative elements of history and the own artistic process that composes the epic set of Vostok.

The VOSTOK film simulates a fictional journey of a submarine to a prehistoric lake submerged in Antarctica from mockups. Held in PIVÔ – Art and Research, it was produced in 16mm and finished in 35mm film and HD.

In VOSTOK_CINEPERFORMANCE, a copy of projection 35mm film is followed by a performance in which all the sounds and noises of the film, including its soundtrack, are live performed. Thus is formed a new orchestra composed by musicians and film foley performers.
In 2012 it was made at PIVÔ – Art Research a musical performance “Essay for Orchestra recording” in collaboration with the artist Lucia Koch and the composer and conductor Rossano Snell, from which was recorded the original soundtrack of the film. The two integral parts were recorded on LP.

In 2015 a second musical performance at the 19th Festival Videobrasil was held.

11th Mercosul Biennial - Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2018
Videoroom Villa Paloma, Nouveau Musée National de Monaco - Monaco, 2016
“VOSTOK”, CAPC - Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux, France, 2015
19º Edição Festival Videobrasil - São Paulo, Brazil, 2015
BES Photo, Collection Berardo Museum - Lisbon, Portugal, 2014
“VOSTOK - Screening #1”, Mendes Wood Gallery - São Paulo, Brazil, 2014
“VOSTOK - A prologue”, Pivô - Art and Research - São Paulo, Brazil, 2013
WRO Art Center - WRO Bienal, Poland, 2013

LP Record and Music Book
Live recording of the musical 
performance “Vostok Suite” plays I and II

This longplay is the record of the performance “Essay for Orchestra recording” held at the studio of the artist Letícia Ramos in PIVÔ – Art and Research on April 04, 2013.
The concert is part of the soundtrack of the film project, book and CD entitled VOSTOK. A ficcional trip to a pre-historic sunken lake in Antárctica.

Composition and Conducting:
Rossano Snell

French Horn: Ari Cortez
Vibraphone: Carlos dos Santos
Percussion: Vinícius Batista
Clarinet: Patrick Moreira Lima
Violin: Tamiris Soler
Violoncello: Thiago Faria

Stefan ‘Lopazz’ Eichinger

Sound recording:
Juliano Zoppi

[VOSTOK] _ A prologue

Is an artist's book in which I built a narrative from photographic “samples” taken from models of Antarctic aquatic environments to "evoke" a false scientific hypothesis. The book is part of the series “THE EXTRAORDINARY ATLAS "in which, with each issue, I try to draw complex “GEOGRAPHICAL ROMANCES” from the articulation between artistic process, science and fiction.
This project won the PROAC award for editing an artist's book. 

Click here.


The I Ching, known as The Book of Changes, a cornerstone of the eastern cannon, became a source for consultation and an oracle, for various strategic actions adopted by different dictatorships and military governments - subverting its real intention. When it was translated to English in the early 20th century, if rapidly became a reference for North American capitalists, as well to eastern fellows. Likewise, ctions or pseudo-scienti c theories became source for the brutal radicalism of some extremist movements. In the Nazi regime, for instance, the writings of Karl Neupert were foundational for the Hohlweltlehre movement, the ‘Hollow Earth’ theory. It is known that some upper echelon members of the Nazi party were adept to the Thule Gesellschaft, a sort of Neotemplar order mixed with occultist practices and hermetic magic sciences, founded by the German Rudolf von Sebottendorff. This type of literature that mixes ction and science dates back to the 17th century, more precisely to the studies by Edmund Halley, who claimed the Earth was hollow, and that there were three other spheres within it. Inside these spheres there would be new forms of life, which were not aware of the existence of entities in the larger spheres. It would be up to the external beings, in that case, humans, to dig holes and access them.

One century later, the mathematician Euler came up with another theory, stating that there were no multiple spheres inside the earth, but only one hollow sphere, and that superior forms of life lived inside it. These two theories were the base for studies that founded the book механика скрытой вселенной, Mechanics of the Hidden World, by the Russian scientist Ivan Korolenko.

Not by accident, a copy of this book was found in a time capsule that Soviets implanted in the ocean through a Russian bathyscaphe, in the 20th century, which would only be found in 2050. It is very likely that this publication also served as inspiration for expeditions of a Soviet micro- submarine, which was the only submersible able to go deeper than 100,000 feet.

In one of its missions, the submarine was sent to the Antarctic, aiming to explore a murky lake that had been frozen for thousands of years. The recent increase in global temperatures revealed the lake, which was named VOSTOK. There, life would be different, because Soviet scientists believed that such a lake could conserve a prehistoric world, maintaining forms of life that had never been seen before.

The lm VOSTOK, by Letícia Ramos, recounts a little of this story: an element of a complex network of proofs and documents that con rm the existence of a place we are not familiar with yet. The ground of prehistoric waters, then, is captured by the submarine built by the artist, reminding us of Soviet explorations. By manipulating image tools, Letícia can extract from the infra-mince the most sensitive of the remarkable. And here, by looking at references left for us by photography, I remember only a few similar cases. Some examples are the paranormal experiences by the North American Ted Serios, with a camera that took pictures of thoughts; the studies by the Russians Semyon and Valentina Kirlian, who created a machine to register the energy surrounding our body; the device built by the German Augusto Mayer, a machine that was able to capture the energy spheres our hands emanate; the melancholic Optogram, by Dr. Vernois, who could record the last image seen by the retina of the dead; and, nally, the unlikely equipment invented by the French Hippolyte Baraduc: a huge camera without lenses that was able to take photographs of God.

It is uncertain whether or not these devices really existed, but their images show us that faith is not only a system of belief based on the unlikely. Moreover, it goes where science nds tricks and where magic faces the cinema. In these elds, there are invisible lines drawing them apart, at once bringing them together at the same time. If we demand proof of scienti c theories and postulates, document records and practical experiences will show us an example of these meta ctions.

And for those who doubt the Hollow Earth treaty, it is worth a visit to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia which safeguards the model of this world, designed in the 19th century by J. Cleves Symmes. Or, if nearby, it is worth a visit to the Aquarium built by Letícia Ramos. These two constructs are other ways of exemplifying theories that require no con rmation, such as cinema, literature and even history. Therefore, there will be no doubts regarding experiments that invent the world inside the world itself, be it lled with air or taken by water.

Michel Zózimo

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Copyright ® 2020 - Letícia Ramos