Vostok is a mobile, indestructible dwelling with an armored shell created by Atelier van Lieshout in collaboration with an astrophysicist (Jean-Philippe Uzan) and a musician (Eddie Ladoire), commissioned by F93 and currently on view at the Cite de la Science in Paris. This joint project takes its name from ‘Vostok 1′, the capsule which enabled Yuri Gagarin to become the first man in space in April 1961.
According to Dezeen it is made of steel plates from boats, while the living unit inside is furnished with benches, a toilet and a wood stove. Quite simple in form, but complex in connotations. While the astrophysicist and the musician worked on the ultimate audible experience of the universe, Atelier van Lieshout designed the listening booth called Resistance. The funny thing is that while F93 situates Vostok as an installation about the universe, Atelier van Lieshout contextualizes the physical installation (Resistance) as comment on our fast-changing society, in which nothing is certain anymore.
F93 explains: “Vostok is a plastic and sound installation about the universe. It wants to make audible some of the things that fascinate astrophysicists: the life and death of a star, pulsars and supernovae, black holes, planetary systems and so on.”
Working on the idea that the universe can experienced, shared and ultimately understood through music, Vostok plays a 20-minute soundtrack which “places the listener inside a galaxy. The principle is materialized by the evocative sounds created by Eddie Ladoire, the use he makes of the sound spectrums used by the astrophysicists themselves to decipher the mysteries of the universe, and the potential that sound has, at certain frequencies, to act physically on our bodies.”
Atelier van Lieshout on the other hand explains: “The changing climate, growing poverty, wars and more are only expanding. This movable nomadic dwelling unit provides shelter from this disconcerting situation. The armored shelter is made from old steel plates recuperated from demolished boats together with other leftover material from our current society. The Cabin looks like an improvised defense/attack apparatus made by a local blacksmith in order to have a better chance of survival in times of revolution and civil war.”
In the end they seem to be two sides of the same coin, since the universe is the ultimate expression of our past, present, and future. In my mind, the every evolving, but to our eye never changing universe confronts us with our timely being on this planet and the changes that lie ahead.
The installation is on view at the Cite de la Science in Paris until March 13, 2011.