What is it like to dine in zero gravity? After yesterday’s announcement of NASA’s new class of astronauts, we turned to Slovenia’s Cultural Centre of European Space Technologies (KSEVT) collaboration with students from the AA Visiting School at the Architectural Association, School of Architecture in London to get a taste of eating a three-course meal and washing it all down with wine while whipping around, 25,000 miles above Earth.
Designed as a site-specific dining experience, the “Food Odyssey” and the “Gravity” wine-drinking suit used the KSEVT building as a venue for exploring the sensorial and spatial details for dining in outerspace. Working with local ingredients and chefs, the group designed a three-course tasting menu based on prototypes ranging from the spherification of kračun, a traditional slovak Christmas pastry, to licking soup off the wall.
Grappling with questions around dining rituals, tableware and the physics of dining in zero gravity, the students reimagined how food would be served and how space explorers might consume it. Without gravity, it was clear there was no need for the rigors of furniture or tableware. Instead, diners were treated to an oversized “napkin” bib that served as both protection against unseemly stains and as an introduction to a fantastical dining experience.
An appetizer of the sphericized kračun was tethered to helium balloons—floating in space and inviting diners to explore new ways of engaging with food without utensils. The main course and soup were affixed and “painted” onto the outline of a place setting on the wall; licking the meal off a wall upended expectations around taste by disconnecting senses like touch and taste. Dessert came in the form of opaque inverted bottles suspended in mid-air with a feeding tube. The format for the dessert explores how taste is interpreted when the senses are blinded—diners must approach the situation with a deep trust that the unknown content inside the bottles is both edible and tasty.
“Gravity,” a parallel project conducted by the students in collaboration with the regional winery Zlati Grič, challenged how we might imbibe wine in zero gravity by sipping it through a system of tubes connected to a full body suit.
As reported by Yellowtrace, “the wine tasting experience at KSEVT becomes a body performance choreographed by the path of the tube transferring a sip of wine from the injection bag to your mouth. There are some incredibly dynamic movements created by this scenario where people literally bend over backwards for their wine.”
Learn more about the AA Visiting School nanotourism program. Their next capsule launches Spring 2018.