At a moment when the world as we know it ceases to exist, Anton Kats takes inspiration from the protagonists of Ukrainian Cosmism such as Fedir Tetyanych to address the tragedy and traumas of war. His new film If not now, when? comprises the past-life recollections of two characters who meet sudden death in the aftermath of the explosion at the Kakhovka Dam and the ongoing shelling of the Kherson Shipyard by Russian forces. Walking through a series of otherworldly portals, both characters—a fisherman and a welder—repeatedly transition between death and rebirth. As they find themselves in new bodies, the two souls walk through different worlds, carried through sonic spaces by the voice of the narrator and shadowed by a witness in the form of the viewer. Embracing transmigration as an operational mode, the artist draws on the complex geopolitical context of both Ukrainian cities amidst invasion to explore the potentialities of a practice after hope.
Work in the exhibition: If not now, when? (2023) Video/Animation/VFX, 13' 40" Courtesy of the artist