Russian Aviation and Space: Technology and Cultural Imagination
conference, 28-30 October 2010
University of Leeds
From Blok to Maiakovskii, from Malevich to Goncharova, and from film chronicles to feature film, Russian cultural responses to the acquisition of flight have reflected and contributed to Russian self-perception. Since the early public displays of heavier-than-air technology in Russia, flight and aviation have been important to the world’s perception of Russian and Soviet identity. Konstantin Tsiolkovskii, the internationally recognized father (along with the American physicist, Robert H. Goddard) of theoretical rocket propulsion and space flight, enabled early aviation-generations world-wide to visualize, and therefore to believe in, the possibility of actualizing the dream of flight beyond Earth’s atmosphere.
This conference explored the mutual influences of science and the cultural imagination in terms of aviation and cosmology. It looked at material which relates to the decades between aviation’s origins and Gagarin’s first manned space flight in 1961. It sought to contribute to an understanding of the relationships which might exist between cultural and scientific modelling. It also sought to explore the scientific and artistic mediums in which aviation, aero and outer-space are imagined, studied and communicated.