The Altai Files

We have always been interested in the origins and functioning of collective mythology.

For the public, we continually try to construct myths that are deeply rooted in reality and then visualize the process of this construction. This also applies to our project The Altai Files. Russia is, of course, a classic example of a society that has a tendency to mythologize its own existence. 

The total installation The Altai Files can be seen as a report of our expedition to the Altai region of Siberia. Paintings, drawings, objects and videos tell the story of the unexpected consequences of space programmes in the Altai, where debris from rockets falls back to earth with great regularity. It appears that every time space debris lands in the village, the villagers go into a trance. In their hallucinations, they race on a flying carpet  through the cities of countries they have never seen in reality. Even more remarkable, however, is that all these cities in their visions belong to the "Russian world". The villagers record their illusions in a variety of ways, the results of which we are also presenting to the public.

Photo: view of the installation, the Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht