the man who flew into space from his apartment

Ilya & Emilia Kabakov

The Man Who Flew Into Space From His Apartment

Created in 1984, the viewer enters the installation through a single door and is invited to visit the separate rooms, only one of which cannot be entered and must be viewed through cracks in a door that has been shoddily boarded up. The Man Who Flew into Space from His Apartment tells the story of one of the residents who built a catapult-like contraption to shoot himself through the roof into outer space, where he would travel on powerful streams of energy. A text describes the story as narrated by three of the other residents, one of whom happened to know the cosmonaut better than the others yet admits, “I didn’t know him well.” The room still contains the contraption, a gaping hole in the ceiling, and scientific drawings and diagrams tacked to a wall that is covered with wallpaper composed of old Soviet propaganda posters. A diorama of the town shows the man’s expected projectile path into outer space. The text explains that shortly after the man went into orbit authorities arrived and boarded up the room.