SVA MA Design Research

SVA MA Design Research, Writing & Criticism1 is a one-year graduate program2
devoted to the study of design, its contexts & consequences.
Our graduates have gone on to pursue research-related careers in publishing, education, museums, institutes, design practice, entrepreneurship, & more.3

  1. Formerly known as D-Crit
  2. About the program
  3. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. All successful candidates awarded a significant scholarship!
SVA MA Design Research

136 W 21st St, 2nd Floor

New York, NY 10011





(212) 592-2228

Research Conversation  – SVA MA Design Research

Aneta Zeleznikova

Research Conversation 

We don’t know what to do with other worlds. We don’t need other worlds. We need a mirror. We’re struggling to make contact, but never find it.

This is an excerpt from Aneta Zeleznikova’s larger thesis portfolio, titled “Space Program.” This work can also be found in the Class of 2019 publication, Everything That Rises: Thinking about Design in Precarious Times.

Codename: “What if something had appeared that you had never known, but only imagined?” Context: There is no time. There is no space. When will we talk—face to face?
Keywords: un/consciousness, fiction, love, cosmos, relationship, humanity, distance 

Sources: In Praise of Love (Alain Badiou), Solaris (Andrei Tarkovsky)


He was going up and found love. 


No, he was going up to find out why people there were losing their minds.

Isn’t it the same? 


Are you gonna make a realistic science-fiction of it?

Yes. We live it every day anyway. 


For instance? 

No, not in this way. I just said that because his experience of the embodied projection of his consciousness was his dead wife Hari—his love. 



In this case, it has nothing to do with love as we know it. No resurrection of the lost beloved. On the other hand, the feeling is universal. 


“… love is a feeling which you can experience but never explain. You can explain

the concept, but you love what you can lose …”

But we can lose anything. What does that mean then? 



Like home, family, or yourself: an entity which we cannot own. 


Earth and people are emotionally connected. In a long shot of a dramatic

wooded landscape, we see a man lost in thought.

Nature characterizes him as he characterizes nature. No words are spoken.

It’s purely atmospheric. It’s a bond between us and our origin.

Do people belong only to the Earth?


Do people belong to the Earth at all? Or, does the Earth belong to people?

They belong to Solaris as well. Although it’s still a big unknown for them. 


Since they experience it, they belong to it. They touch Solaris through their


But it wasn’t real. 


It felt real though. However, the word “real” doesn’t make sense in this context.

It’s empty. 

It was authentic then. 


It was ex-perienced*. Little damaged versions hidden in details.

How does it feel to touch a warped realm? 


It’s both magical and disturbing. 

Like life itself but extended. What kind of life do they live on Solaris? 


A life of antithesis. The cosmic consciousness is alive and the materialized world

as they know it is going to be weak, blurred. They vanish into the thin air that

they breathe. They become the air. 

Is the air toxic? 


It’s addictive, and hallucinogenic—people on Earth say. Memories are present

but covered with clouds—people on Earth don’t understand.

It’s consciousness. It’s unconsciousness. People on Earth think rationally that they want to understand but


“We don’t know what to do with other worlds. We don’t need other worlds.

We need a mirror. We’re struggling to make contact, but never find it.”

Solaris is Earth and it is all about us, in the sense that we are the centerpiece. 


Could be. Nevertheless, what if we have our own Solaris in our minds?

Like a virtual reality or a dream without knowing that that’s what it is? 


Is an experience proof? Is it proof of reality?

“We aren’t on earth…”


“…limit of human knowledge.” 

“Don’t go looking for truth there…” 


Where do we find truth then?

“I don’t know myself at all, I don’t remember who I am. When I close my eyes, I can’t remember my own face. How about you?”


Do we need it?

No. The truth here is the feeling. The warped realm of their consciousness is not a simple reproduction. It develops itself because of “humanity in inhuman conditions.”


Yes, we need it! 

Is truth more than love?


“… we are here just to feel, for the first time, people as a cause for love?”

“The ocean is visible through the window, a terrifying black void.”


“Night is the best time here. Somehow it reminds you of earth.”

“… a tin with some earth.”

Mother Earth


Father Time

*ex-perienced: adjective; noun: a past experience brought to life again as a modified and mostly damaged version