The Anthropocene in 90 Minutes

By Maria Chehonadskih, 23 September 2015
Image: Andrei Platonov (centre, marked ‘X’) with members of the cooperative association of peasants ‘Rogachevka’ at the opening of the first power plant in the village Rogachevka, Voronezh region, 1924.

In Molecular Red Mackenzie Wark collides Platonov and Bogdanov, to produce anthropocene levels of low-theory. But are these very distinctive soviet thinkers really compatible, and is acceleration really what the world needs now, asks Maria Chehonadskih

In the 1990s a booklet for university students entitled ‘Kant in 90 Minutes’ flooded the Russian market. This small volume was part of an impressive edition of ‘Philosophers in 90 Minutes’. Translated from English, it included Plato, Socrates, Spinoza, Hegel, Nietzsche and other classics. Centuries earlier, the anthropocene began, or so we are told. McKenzie Wark has now given us the 90-minute study guide to this epoch of man-made nature. His Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene popularises and translates philosophical and theoretical concepts into a journalistic form. The book is fascinating, just like ‘Kant in 90 minutes’, and it is an easy read. Wark’s aim is to twist, shake and displace various concepts from their origins and construct an intriguing story in the process, and in this respect he is quite successful.

‘Disparate times call for disparate methods,’ begins Wark, with a pun. Our era is the culmination of a man-made armageddon – the anthropocene. The long and devastating reign of capitalist modernity has brought disillusionment with any ‘majoritarian’ conception of history. However, Wark refuses a nihilistic Kojèvian discourse of the ‘end of history’. On the contrary, to face up to disparate times is to encounter the anthropocene as the paradoxical beginning of real history – a ‘molecular’ history of forgotten or repressed forms of knowledge, practices and discourses. (Preface, XI, XV-XVI). The advent of the anthropocene relieves us of any remaining delusions concerning a historical ‘grand plan’ and forcibly reorients our thinking toward ‘low theory’ and the pragmatic task of ‘mitigating’ the effects of the anthropocene era (Preface, XVI). Wark’s disparate times, then, imply the over-familiar Deleuzean project of ‘becoming minoritarian’. Yet he jettisons whatever fragile sense of revolutionary transformation this concept once implied, since the theory of the anthropocene assumes the continuation of capitalism. Consequently it is unclear why Wark invokes Marx’s notion of real history beginning at capitalism’s end, with its obvious communist agenda. Perhaps here we have the key to Wark’s ‘disparate methods’ – effectively his technique is to turn everything into its opposite.

As a result of his political and theoretical position, Wark’s book is brimming with optimism and is full of (ostensibly) ambitious ideas and proposals. The array of writings and the terrain of scholarship in Molecular Red calls for an encyclopaedic knowledge of various fields, including the history of science, philosophy, feminist theory, Eastern Marxism and Soviet history. Wark’s erudition however suffers from certain limitations. Central to Molecular Red is the philosopher and scientist Alexander Bogdanov and his universal science of organisation, or ‘Tektology’. Unlike Marx, who studied the Russian language in order to analyse Russian history, Wark relies on secondary literature and half-translated versions of Bogdanov’s manuscripts to reconstruct his theory.[1] From this follows perhaps his ambiguous attempt to present ‘the new tektology’. Reworked for the 21st century, this will be a global project similar to climate science in its scale and with a focus on technological organisation and collective cooperation across the disciplines (p. 166-182).

The most distinctive feature of Wark’s authorial style is to animate terms and discourses to the point that they mirror living speech, creating a kind of bohemian slang. His use of the Debordian term détournement exemplifies his style. For Wark it can mean many things, from appropriation to hijacking and pastiche, but at the same time it means nothing, because he applies it to everything. The same is true for tektology, chez Wark. It is a scientific method, a mode of organisation, a synonym for totality, and a metaphorical approach to creative writing. The inexact usage of terms corresponds to the logic of his narration. Molecular Red relies heavily on intellectual and ‘minoritarian’ political history to create a theatrical phantasmagoria whose premise is muddled, not to say mythical. The main characters in this plot are the evil authoritarian Lenin and the nice dissident, Bogdanov. Lenin is a bloodthirsty Bolshevik, whereas Bogdanov is not keen on taking power (p. 4-13). Somewhere backstage, Andrei Platonov writes his article ‘The Factory of Literature’ and battles socialist realism as far back as 1926 – before socialist realism even existed.[2] (p.108, 111). From this point on, any engagement with inconvenient and obscure ‘minoritarian’ Soviet discourses comes to an end. In the second act, the book moves ‘from the cold and hunger of early Soviet Russia to the sunshine and plenty of California’ (Preface, XII). The reader can breathe freely. Donna Haraway and Karen Barad are chosen to correct and somehow overcome Bogdanov’s old-fashioned technological optimism.

Another peculiar new protagonist that appears in Molecular Red is Wark’s ‘Carbon Liberation Front’. Referring to the molecular force of carbon considered as a person or agent, Wark’s coinage designates a vitalist power arising from the production of atmospheric carbon dioxide and the various ecological problems it causes. The Carbon Liberation Front is in turn responsible for generating a ‘metabolic rift’ (Preface, XIII-XV). For Marx, the rift in the universal metabolism of man and nature occurs through capital’s interruption of a cyclical exchange between society and nature, town and country. For Wark, the ‘political economy’ of the metabolic rift is not really the issue. Rather he emphasises the ‘molecular liberation’ of carbon within the modern resource-based economy. The ‘Carbon Liberation Front’ is, so to speak, an independent and evil force generating both energy and pollution. For Wark it is as if carbon were liberated by the metaphysical genius of the invisible hand of the market, becoming as a result an uncontrolled, self-moving and destructive capitalist substance. Consequently, in place of political economy Wark offers us Bogdanov's Tektology, which in his view is capable of mastering (organising) the vitalist power of a ‘Carbon Liberation Front’. (Preface, XV).

Most scholarship on Bogdanov and Platonov in the English-speaking world has been conducted in the fields of Slavic Studies and intellectual history. Wark’s attempt to revitalise their legacy in the context of Marxism and critical theory should find great support. However, a more attentive reading of Platonov and Bogdanov would avoid reducing them to an ideological supplement to contemporary theory, or some great alternative to bolshevism. It is not enough to rework Soviet discourse by means of a charming French détournement, nor to subsume both under Karen Barad’s notions of ‘intra-action’ and agential realism. What if Bogdanov was in fact part of bolshevism and Platonov the most intriguing philosopher of dialectical materialism? Would ‘sunshine’ California still appreciate them? My review will concentrate on these issues and will hopefully provide some clarification of the Soviet discourses mentioned, but sometimes inadequately grasped by Wark.

Wark correctly says that Bogdanov limits the notion of nature to ‘whatever appears as resistance to labor’ (p. 18). We may add that the cost of such limitation is that Bogdanov reduces everything to the elements of experience and their organisation, so that the social and natural world are seen as a combination of these elements. Elements are identical to objects and their attributes, to forces and motions. Thus, labour and the linguistic elaboration of its practical results make use of these elements according to the needs of production – for example, stone is extracted from nature to make roads and more complex elements to produce machines.[3] By contrast, nature has the lowest level of organisation and represents spontaneity (stikhiinost).[4] Consequently, the world is a battlefield of collective labour, in which human activity struggles with the spontaneous resistance of nature.[5] Does this struggle with the spontaneity of nature not constitute the metabolic rift?

Wark especially appreciates Bogdanov’s criticism of philosophy as a form of ideology (p. 16-25). Such criticism departs from the idea of the syncretism of labour, thinking and language and is grounded in the theory of ‘substitution’. Substitution or basic metaphor is the means of ideological expression of a class based form of production. For example, the bourgeoisie substitutes the contradiction of labour and capital by means of a dualistic idealism: spirit subordinates the body, and the ruling class subordinates the working class. From this it follows that the organisation of labour in thinking determines the production of knowledge. Therefore, the proletariat must consciously understand the logic of metaphorical substitution in order to organise knowledge in agreement with its class interests.[6] Wark contends that the rational organisation of knowledge based on Bogdanov’s theory of substitution may constitute a ‘low theory’ – that is a molecular point of view in theory based on practical verification and criticism of the power apparatuses involved in the production of knowledge. Experimenting with metaphorical expressions may develop a ‘poetics of knowledge formation’ (p. 27).

However, Wark does not realise that such a theory of knowledge is very close to Plekhanov’s determinism of productive forces. Nevertheless, he does understand that Bogdanov propagates a vulgar Marxism which, according to Wark, shifts us from the ‘superstructure’ or speculative thinking to the ‘base’ – to the relations of production and everyday practice (p. 220). It is true that Bogdanov’s monistic philosophy celebrates a holistic scientific method. Thus, he criticises speculative ‘dualist ontology’ that in his view characterises dialectics in Marxism. In the same fashion, Wark attacks Western Marxism, because it applies dialectical, not holistic methods to analyse society (p. 24-25). According to him, Bogdanov would criticise speculative realism today for the same reason (p. 19). Perhaps, he would, but in fact, the foundation of Bogdanov’s monism is labour as causa sui. He returns us to the ‘base’, but this base is evolution and the gradual progression of the productive forces toward the non-contradictory and rational worldview of collective labour. Labour is the metaphysical agent of nature’s transformation. Thus, Bogdanov himself was not able to escape speculative ontology.

Image: Industry Square, Pavilion number 32 ‘Cosmos’ (1939) and the Vostok Rocket (1967) in the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy (VDNKh), Moscow.

Where Wark touches on the uncomfortable positivist and technocratic limitations of Bogdanov’s thought, Proletkult comes to rescue the Soviet part of the story.[7] According to Wark, Bogdanov’s idea of Proletkult, was completely different from ‘avant-garde modernism, which confined innovation to questions of literary or plastic form’ (p. 38). He forgets or simply ignores LEF (the journal of the Left Front of the Arts and associated artists) and constructivism, which in reality were not so far removed from early Proletkult[8]. Platonov’s article ‘The Factory of Literature’, which Wark prizes as a great text on the question of collective labour in art (p.107-113), was originally written for an issue of the journal October dedicated to a discussion of the productivist method in literature. There were thousands of similar articles at that time and Platonov aimed to critically contribute to the debate.[9] For instance, Wark’s ‘threefold practice’ of Proletkult – creativity, collectivity and universalism – is rather typical of many of the Soviet avant-garde movements (p. 35-37). What is more, he merely gives a compressed paraphrase of the academic Zenovia Sochor’s account of Proletkult’s principles, although for some reason he does not quote this source.[10] Attribution aside, the political aspect of proletarian culture certainly attracts Wark. He even proposes we recreate it, but in place of the proletariat today its members will be hackers (p. 27). After more than ten years of critique of the various theories of immaterial labour, it is difficult to take similar pronouncements seriously.

Another way in which Wark smooths the rough edges off Bogdanov’s positivistic technism is by invoking the pessimistic negativity of Andrei Platonov. Molecular Red’s chapter on Platonov may be of interest to those who have never read his prose. Wark meticulously retells the stories of all the author’s principal novels – Chevengur, The Foundation PitHappy Moscow and Soul (p. 69-103).[11] The Foundation Pit and Happy Moscow respectively represent a ‘base’ and an ‘infrastructure’ in Wark. The concept of the base simply means the depiction of the real problems of social existence, such as hunger and hostile natural conditions. The superstructure is the social class of the Soviet technical intelligentsia (p.83-85; 89-90).

Platonov was a writer who consciously constructed his own philosophical concepts and developed them from work to work. However, the only concept Wark takes from Platonov derives from a remark in Chevengur concerning ‘secondary ideas’. For Platonov, the latter constitute an existential technique of deflecting the attention away from a dominant idea that preoccupies the mind to refocus on more immediate and current problems. The novel’s protagonist Dvanov’s main idea is communism. Communism cannot be achieved here and now, however. So he shifts his attention to the ‘secondary ideas’ – to his everyday routine. This keeps his communism ‘reserved’.[12] Platonov poetically – and satirically – notes the way in which ideals and everyday needs couple together to form a dialectical unity of opposites. He notes the contradictions between theory and practice. Wark tries to put this conceit to work in his pragmatism of ‘low theory’ that breaks with metaphysical ‘ideals’ (p. 81, 106, 131). He also draws on Platonov’s notion of ‘shared life’ but equates it with a vitalist and simultaneous flow of life and collective solidarity (p. 106-107). Wark’s most doubtful proposition is that Platonov’s writing represents ‘a kind of tektology’ (p. 63). In reality, for Bogdanov tektology is a science of universal organisation. It is a method but, unless one were trying to develop some kind of systems theory of fiction writing, it doesn’t have anything to do with artistic production. Certainly not with Platonov’s. 

Reworked by Wark, Platonov reappears manicured, straightened out, and thoroughly Bogdanovite. The young Platonov (1918-1923) was indeed heavily influenced by Bogdanov. However, the writings of Platonov discussed by Wark clearly criticise the positivism and scientific enthusiasm of Bogdanov. Wark writes: ‘Bogdanov gives us the tragedy of the totality… Platonov sees it from below’ (p. 69). But let us be fair. Excepting the personal troubles he experienced in his party career, there was no tragedy in Bogdanov’s theory. His totality is a positivist clash between culture and nature ultimately resolved in the abolition of nature’s spontaneity. By contrast, in Platonov nature is not an instrument of labour that one can endlessly shape, compose and recompose. Wark also understands this, as is evident especially in his discussion of Platonov’s anti-positivist and anti-militarist article ‘The First Socialist Tragedy’ (p. 103-107). Nevertheless, to save the illusory ideological proximity of Bogdanov and Platonov, Wark writes that both share a view of nature as the ‘enemy of our species-being’, but that the latter is just ‘more pessimistic’ about it (p. 105). This is the most doubtful claim, since ‘The First Socialist Tragedy’ includes expansive reflections on imperialism, the Stalinist doctrine of artists as ‘engineers of the human soul’, and forced industrialisation.[13]

Another concept mentioned by Wark that clearly separates the two authors is Platonov’s ‘dual consciousness’ (p. 93). The doubling identified by Platonov arises in the dialectical coexistence of physicality and thinking, and is said to separate humans from animals. Platonov:

It was necessary to get used to coordinating two thoughts, to uniting in a single impulse one thought that rises from out of the earth itself, from the depths of the bones, and another that descends from the heights of the skull. It was necessary that these thoughts should always meet at a single moment, that their waves should coincide and resonate… We imagine the lightness, the freedom, the senseless paradise of an animal, when our consciousness was not dual but lonely… But then our two consciousnesses couple together again, we once again become human beings in the embrace of our ‘two-edged’ thought, and nature, organized according to the principle of an impoverished singleness, grits her teeth and curls herself up to escape from the activity of these terrible dual structures which she never engendered, that originated inside their own selves.[14]

To put it differently, physiology is not determinate of thought, as in Bogdanov, but bodily experience, to use Spinozist terms, does affect thinking. However, this affection (affectio) is not affirmative. The negation of thinking in labour and the negation of labour in thinking is Platonov’s main topic. Strangely, Wark ignores this problematic, though it is present on every single page of Chevengur.[15] For Platonov, the question was how to limit organisation-making. He was against form and formalism (organisation). His writings introduce a negative dialectics of becoming, in which ‘shared life’ is above all the negativity of the abolition of a class: to share life means to transgress one’s own class by the act of changing one’s name, by one’s personal biography and professional status. As a rule, this leads Platonov’s protagonists to a life of wandering, unemployment and homelessness. Abolition in Platonov does not possess a form (a new class instead of an old class, a new organisation instead of an old one). Wark remarks that ‘the rift… may be inevitable’ in Platonov (p. 93), but since he does not like ‘dualism’, ‘negativity’ and ‘dialectics’, he can do no better than to conclude that double consciousness ‘does not guarantee a smoothly functioning monism’ (p. 93).

One can see that the question of the metabolic rift is actually what separates and makes Platonov and Bogdanov opponents. It is remarkable that Wark pays no attention to the fact that it was exactly the economic aspect of the metabolic rift that was crucial for Platonov. Platonov’s nature is a realm of capitalist history, because capitalism exploits not only people, but also animals, plants and earth. The task is, therefore, to liberate nature and all living creatures by means of ‘communist farming’. Similarly to Marx, he writes elsewhere that the capitalist exploitation of the soil results in the creation of deserts and droughts. This is because exploitation exhausts the productive forces of the earth. Thus, what he terms ‘the repair of the earth’ should be implemented as a science of cooperative farming, based on the idea of returning to the earth that which it has given. This could be achieved by means of solar energy and other renewable sources. Without question, from the point of view of current discussions about renewable energy, there is nothing radically new in such a proposition. However, Platonov was one of the few who raised the question of nature’s exploitation in the 1920s and ’30s. In relation to what Molecular Red sets up as its problematic, this is exactly the part of the author’s legacy that should spark the greatest interest.[16] Unfortunately, these questions, so innovative for their time, are passed over undiscussed.

Eventually, Wark concedes that Bogdanov is too much a Bolshevik, yet he still tries to deconstruct him (p. 25). Thus, tektology becomes a ‘metaphorical machine’ for the construction of a new critical theory (p. 49-56). The labour point of view and other limitations of Bogdanov are to be re-read through the new theories developed in the field of science studies. For example, Karen Barad successfully applies a Foucauldian archaeology of knowledge to science, whereas Haraway investigates the constructivist and linguistic dimension of scientific concepts and discourses. However, it would appear that the only similarity between Barad, Haraway and Bogdanov is that they each use ‘metaphors’ and ‘analogies’ in a conscious and critical way. And, yes, they all have a scientific background! In order to integrate them into a single series, Wark uses Bogdanov’s terminology to reiterate their theories (pp. 137-142; pp. 153-161). However, it is not clear how an organicist politics of substitution can generate poetry, nor how Wark’s new tektological science can bring together empiricism and ‘creative writing’. Deconstructing Bogdanov cannot resolve the contradiction between the poetics proposed and his evident positivism.

Turning Bogdanov into a radical dissident, Wark doesn't notice that his philosophy is part of Soviet and Bolshevik political culture. He doesn't pay attention to the fact that Bogdanov’s philosophy is not very far from the Bolsheviks’ problematisation of spontaneity and organisation. If Lenin treats classes in terms of the spontaneity of the disorganised masses whereas organisation for him is the preserve of the vanguard party, Bogdanov hypostasizes the concept of spontaneity and applies it not only to class theory, but also to nature and modes of production. It is not surprising that Bogdanov ‘critically’ supported Taylorism and Gastev’s NOT movement (Scientific Organisation of Labour).[17] It is worth mentioning that NOT insisted on the rationalisation of work and literally measured how many seconds workers should spend on a given labour operation. Thus, Bogdanov's project of a universal science matches the political and economic ideas of (Bolshevik and Taylorist) planning and centralisation.[18] In fact, tektology proposes something close to management theory. This perhaps accounts for the existence of a PhD comparing Bogdanov with neoliberal management doctrine.[19] Wark ignores (or simply does not know about) Bogdanov’s proximity to these projects.

Wark gets stuck between soixante-huitard nostalgia and social-democratic reformism, proposing Bogdanov’s Tektology as the new Taylorism, without noticing he has done so. His other suggestion is that we fight Western Marxism with Bogdanov’s substitution theory. However, to propagate ‘low theory’ and a Plekhanovite determinism of the productive forces in the Anglo-American academic context, flooded as it is by empirical ‘case studies’ and arty-lefty discourses is not a very radical solution. Do we really need to question ‘high theory’ by means of a relativism that has already turned continental philosophy and Marxism into a liberal cultural theory? American analytical philosophy is another serious problem in the neoliberal heartland. Such a world might well celebrate Bogdanov's tektology, since it is based on empiricism and positivism. But wait a minute, what about the metabolic rift? Never mind, Bogdanov teaches us that the spontaneity of nature must be organised. This organisation is a struggle against nature for human survival. In Bogdanov’s science fiction, nature is definitely not supposed to be the victor. By contrast, it is clear that in this conflict Platonov sided with nature not State capitalism, and spent most of his life writing ‘high’ philosophical novels of no use to Soviet politics and economics. Perhaps today it would make more sense to return to Platonov and his negative dialectics of nature than to Bogdanov and his positivist technism.


Thanks to Anthony Iles and Benedict Seymour for their comments and valuable remarks. Special thanks to Benedict Seymour for sub-editing my English.  



[1] Wark refers to the half-translated manuscript of The Philosophy of Living Experience. Popular Outlines (1913), to be published by Brill. See: Alexander Bogdanov. The Philosophy of Living Experience. Popular Outlines, tr. David G. Rowley, Leiden (forthcoming). He also relies on some of Bogdanov’s articles, his science fiction, and the first part of ‘Tektology’ translated into English. See: ‘Alexander Bogdanov. Tektologia: Universal Organizational Science’ in Bogdanov's Tektology. Book 1, tr. Andrei Kartashov, Vladimir Kelle, Peter Bystrov,  Hull, 1996.

[2] Socialist realism emerged in 1932.

[3] Alexandr Bogdanov. Empiriomonism [Empiriomonism] in S. S. Gysev, A. F. Zamaleeva, A. I. Novikova, Russkii positivism. Lesevich, Yshkevich, Bogdanov, Spb, 1995, p. 213.  

[4] ‘Stikhiinost’ corresponds to the English ‘spontaneity’, but in Russian ‘stikhiinost’ literally means chaos, elements of nature. This is the same world that Lenin uses to describe disorganised masses of workers. Bogdanov uses the word ‘stikhiinost’ elsewhere. See, for example: Alexandr Bogdanov. Filosofiya zhivogo opita. Materialism, Empiriocriticism, Dialectical materialism, Empiriomonism. Populyarnie ocherki. [The Philosophy of Living Experience. Materialism, Empiriocriticism, Dialectical Materialism, Empiriomonism, the Science of the Future. Popular Outlines], Petrograd, 1907.

[5] Ibid., p. 49.   

[6] See: Ibid., pp. 221-258.

[7] Proletkult is a contraction of Proletarian Culture and Enlightenment Organisations. It was a mass organisation of scientific, educational and art societies for the proletariat, existing from 1917 to 1932. Proletkult was established by Bogdanov and Lunacharskii after the February Revolution in 1917. Bogdanov’s concept of ‘proletarian culture’ formed a basis for Proletkult ideology. He insisted on the autonomy of the proletariat from the party and believed that its culture should be developed in order to replace bourgeois culture and science. Proletkult had art studios, clubs and various educational institutions, but it completely lost its autonomy in 1922, and was reorganised into the associations of proletarian writers, artists, musicians and drama study. By the end of 1920s, most of Proletkult’s associations had become conservative Stalinist supporters.

[8] Thus, Chuzhak's ‘life-building’ (zhiznestroenie) is quite close to the Bogdanovite organisational perspective on art, as were the productivists’ experiments in the principles of collectivism. See: Nikolai Chuzhak. ‘Under the Banner of Life-Building (An Attempt to Understand the Art of Today)’ [1923], tr. Christina Lodder in Art in Translation, Vol. 1, Issue 1, 2009, pp. 119-151.

[9] On the context of Platonov’s ‘The Factory of Literat’ [Fabrika Literaturi] see: Andrei Platonov. Fabrika Literaturi. Literaturnaya Kritika i Publitzistika, Tom 8 [‘The Factory of Literature’, Literary Criticism and Journalism, Volume 8], Moskva, 2011, pp. 675-677.

[10] Compare Zenovia A. Sochor ‘Revolution and culture: The Bogdanov-Lenin Controversy’, pp. 134-140 and Wark, pp. 35-37.

[11] It should be noted that the English translation of Chevengur is based on the censored and edited version of the text. Some controversial passages are missing in this translation and some dialects, terms and concepts are mistranslated. See: Andrei Platonov. Chevengur [1926-1928], tr. Anthony Olcott, Michigan, 1978. I would recommend reading Robert Chandler’s translations of Platonov. He is currently working on a translation of Chevengur, parts of which are published here: Andrei Platonov. The Portable Platonov. For the Centenary of Andrei Platonov's Birth, tr. Rodert Chandler,  Elizabeth Chandler. Moscow, 1999.

[12] See: Andrei Platonov. Chevengur [1926-1928], tr. Anthony Olcott, Michigan, 1978, p. 283.

[13] The only justification for such a diagnosis may be that Wark uses the shortened version of the text published in the New Left Review. However, even in this text it is apparent that Platonov attacks (as much as one could in 1934) the technocratic optimism of Stalinist culture. In any case, a full version of the text is available now in English. See: Andrei Platonov. ‘On the First Socialist Tragedy’ in Happy Moscow, tr. Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler, Angela Livingstone, Nadya Bourova, Eric Naiman, London, 2013, pp. 153-157.

[14] Platonov, A., 2013. Happy Moscow, tr. Rodert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler, Angela Livingstone, Nadya Bourova, Eric Naiman, London, pp. 59-60.

[15] The name of one of the main characters in Chevengur is Dvanov. This surname signifies ‘dva’, ‘razdvoenie’ – two, doubling. See also the episode concerning ‘the eunuch of the soul’ in Chevengur which continues the discussion of dual consciousness: Andrei Platonov. Chevengur [1926-1928], tr. Anthony Olcott, Michigan, 1978, p. 80. See also Valery Podoroga’s philosophical interpretation of ‘the eunuch of the soul’: Valery Podoroga, ‘The Eunuch of the Soul: Positions of Reading and the World of Platonov’, The South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume 90, Number 2, 1991, pp. 357-408.

[16] His articles on nature, agriculture and communist farming exist only in Russian version. I will name juts a few of them. Earth’s Repair (1920), Revolutionary War Council of the Earth (1921), Earth Cheka (Black Revolutionary War Council) (1922), About the Liquidation of Agricultural Catastrophes (1923), Struggle with A Desert (1924). See: Andrei Platonov. Fabrika Literaturi. Literaturnaya Kritika i Publitzistika, Tom 8, [‘The Factory of Literature’, Literary Criticism and Journalism, Volume 8]. Moskva, 2011; Andrei Platonov. Sochineniya. Tom 1: 1918-1927, Kniga 2: Stat'I [Complete Works. Volume 1: 1918-1927, Book 2: Articles], Moskva, 2004. However, occasionally these topics appear in Chevengur, Dzhan (Soul) and other works of fiction. It seems that there is only one source in English. See: Christopher W. Harwood. ‘Human Soul of an Engineer: Andrei Platonov's Struggle with Science and Technology’, PhD, New York, 2000.

[17] See: Alexandr Bogdanov. Mezhdy chelovecom i mashinoi (O sisteme Teilora). [Between Human and Machine (About Taylor's System)], SPB, 1913. See also critique of Soviet Taylorism in: Zenovia A. Sochor, 'Soviet Taylorism Revisited' in Soviet Studies, Vol., 33, Issue 2, 1981, pp. 246-264.

[18] See: Aleksei Gastev. Kak nado rabotat: Prakticheskoe vvedenie v nayky organizatsii tryda [1921] [How to Work: Practical Introduction into the Organisational Science of Labour], Moskva, 2011. Bogdanov took part in the discussion of the first central plan for the economy and spoke at the first congress of NOT. See:   

[19] See: Andrei Troizkiy. 'Naychnie vzgladi A. A. Bordanova na economicy i upravlenie khozyaistvennim razvitiem' ['Scientific Views of A. A. Bogdanov on Economy and Business Management'], PhD, Moskva, 2010.