Aurélien Goubau






In the 1990s, a team of Russian scientists used a giant space mirror to reflect sunlight back to Earth, with the aim of lighting up northern Russia during the polar night. This satellite, by the mere existence of its idea, carries a political dimension and tells something of contemporary Russia. \\ \\ Since the cold war, the population of the USSR promoted the cosmic imagination, sometimes as a form of escape from the oppression and difficult conditions in which they lived. Soviet ideology never explicitly asked the question whether the development of remote territories like the North (beyond the Arctic Circle) was profitable or economically rational. It was taken as a truth in itself that the development of this space is a positive phenomenon. Expanding the frontier and defying nature were part of the expansionist mindset of the USSR. \\ \\ Attracted by the polar night and the story of Znamya, I went to the north of Russia, where the sun disappears for part of the year. Whatever the current geopolitical stakes, I let myself be guided by encounters, in search of characters, stories but above all dreams in the heart of Russian homes. I wanted to live the night, to penetrate it completely and abandon myself to it with the characters who live in the darkness. The darkness of the polar night does not designate a period, but a mood. Seemingly silent and empty of all light and colour, the night stretches between the houses in the distance. The people who live in the darkness of the north seem to be bound to the night. It is in the night that the life and light reveals itself.