27 December 2021

Space Travel, Dreams and Other Stories

27 December 2021 - Written by PhMuseum

​Inspired by the real story of ​Sergei Krikalev, the famous Soviet ​Union astronaut who spent 311 consecutive days in orbit, photographer Josef Kovac creates a fictional narrative that juxtaposes the historical event with his personal reminiscence.

It was the middle of the night somewhere in Central Europe at the end of December 1991. A nine-year-old boy wakes from a nightmare. His room, lit only by the moonlight coming through the window, seems smaller than usual … like a dark capsule from a different world. The boy, still thinking about his dream, was scared; crying, unable to move, he thinks anxiously that he never wants to die.

At the same time, 385 km above, on a low Earth orbit, Sergei Krikalev receives a message. The Soviet Union has collapsed and, due to the new geopolitical situation, he and his colleague Aleksandr Volkov will be forced to stay in the MIR space station. Sergei. At this point, after almost eight months in space, he felt trapped in the dark capsule. He knew for sure that in just a few minutes there would be another sunrise for him and ninety-two minutes after that another and another. What he did not know was that he would have to stay there for the next three months.

Words and Pictures by Josef Kovac.


Josef Kovac (1982, former Czechoslovakia) holds an MFA in Photography from HDK-Valand Academy, Gothenburg, Sweden. He is particularly interested in the relationship between the photographic image and fiction, and he challenges the perception of it by putting seemingly ordinary objects or spaces into new fictive narratives and contexts. Find him on PhMuseum and Instagram.


This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PhMuseum curators.

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Reading time

3 minutes