|THE REVENGE OF THE SPEKTRES’ KITCHEN
A project by Marianne Theunissen and Chris Baaten.
The performance “Spektre’s internal walk” commemorates the short moment in 1997 that the Mir, the Russian space station that for 15 years hovered round the earth at a distance between 296 and 421 km altitude, was hit by its own food- and waste rocket. The second in which the collision took place was transformed into a 20 minute performance in which the carefully packaged food reaches the Spektre, the part of the Mir that serves as an accomodation for American astronauts, hits the wall of the Spektre and explodes into space while the air pressure within the module lowers and any organic matter present expands and multiplies, transforms.
The pictures of the performance are an important part of the exhibition: “the Revenge of the Spektre’s Kitchen” by Marianne Theunissen & Chris Baaten. The performance is based on the actual event, the collision of the foodrocket with the Mir.
Very different from the labyrinth in the Mir, where space travelers squeezed themselves with difficulty through the narrow corridors. Books, children’s drawings, photographs and a guitar were piled up against the walls of the cabins, together with cables and scientific instruments, equipment to foritfy and relieve the inner man and a network of tubes, filters and control equipment. The Mir-astronauts had little opportunity to lead a personal or domestic life of their own. Their existence compressed, a space for a short dream perhaps, but not for materialising memories, as in Solaris. Too little space, too much preoccupation with the organising of the internal and the external human being, of the inner and outer rocket.
The fearful dream of Solaris, the inability of man in space and his incapacity to create a livable environment there, changes the Mir into the banal and harsh reality of everyday life, an ‘accident’ in which a pile of human material is flung into space to roam around eternity for ever. What shall a future space traveller think when a Russian, tightly wrapped in cellophane sandwich, hits the windscreen of his cabin. Is that the past that speaks to us?
In the work of Marianne Theunissen and Chris Baaten the relation between man / performer and object is central. Their joint work is driven by experiences in and with the spatial and physical environment, and how man relates to these both physically and mentally.
This experiential approach is reflected in their performances in which they film (themselves) and their photographs and installations. The arranged situations are located at the intersection of the ordinary and the fantasy, in which they both refer to reality and spatial perception of films as on a film set.