Nikolai, Charles, Raymond, Kenton | Jared Christopher Kelley

Jared Christopher Kelley

Nikolai, Charles, Raymond, Kenton

2020

Video game created in Unity, Archive Audio, Archive Film, Community and Original 3D Models, Custom Code

This work is the beginning of an examination of the intersections between the salvation doctrine of the Jehovah's Witnesses, theories of immortality of Nikolai Fyodorov and the Russian Cosmists, and the artist's fascination with longevity research and transhumanist activism of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

This is an attempt to marry the artist's background in childhood as previously one of Jehovah's Witnesses and their promise of perfected, eternal life, with plausibly aligned philosophical movements during the sect's development. The sect’s pathos is indelibly imprinted; how can this promise of perfect immortality be reconciled outside of this faith?

The amphitheater space is designed and constructed to represent and hold these tenuous and somewhat contradictory intersections together in one place. The space is out-of-time, where human transcendence is not an extension of present corporeality or essence, but where memories that live on and construct components of a personality can cohere and integrate with one another. This space is where conflicting philosophies and memories intersect allowing the artist to reorganize and reframe his origin, reorient his ingrained beliefs, and investigate the meaning these formative beliefs can have in his present.

Audio from origin point:

In Front: Jeffry Kenton Hudgins, Jr., Sermon on Joy (“Talk”) given to the Marietta Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, ca. 1990

Right: Michael Hagemeister, Nikolai Fedorov’s Project of Universal Salvation and “Russian Cosmism”, 2017

Left: Raymond Franz, Interview with former Governing Body Member and Ex-Witness Ray Franz, ca. 2005

Behind: Charles Taze Russell, The Photo-Drama of Creation, 1914