The San Diego Air & Space Museum is a cathedral, built to worship the religion of exploration and human ambition. From its yawning chapel hang a rogue’s gallery of aircraft, from the fortress-like Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boat to the space-dusted Apollo IX Command Module: all suspended in mid-flight, frozen in time as if caught in amber. There’s even a Mig-17, a Mach-one reminder that America was not alone in revolutionising the science of flight.
Underneath this Russian warbird stands Nina Kraviz, head bobbing rhythmically. Well, she’s not standing, really, more like swaying in the preliminary stages of a dance, lips pursed thoughtfully. On her navy blue T-shirt a silkscreened image of Yuri Gagarin, the first human being in space, looks out at the crowd. In large font along the back of her shirt, ‘CCCP’ is printed boldly. “I thought maybe it would cause a little bit of dissonance,” she tells us later. “I probably shouldn’t wear this T-shirt because the museum is a US kind of thing, and I’m coming with a Soviet Union thing, but I’m sorry, it’s so conceptually cool!”
The room is cavernous, the air a bit chilly in the late autumn evening. Smiling, she fades Bjarki’s ‘As You Remember’ into the mix, the fuzzy techno emanating from the Funktion-One speakers warming up the room. The samples crackling under the breakbeats – recordings of old NASA flight communications – sound as though they were born in this hall. Kraviz sinks into the moment.
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