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Proef's Pasta Sauna

To the tunes of music-making pasta machines, Marije Vogelzang's recent installation in New York let visitors be lazy and indulge in pasta while basking in the Pasta Sauna.

By Jeanne Tan /asdf 09-12-2009

Exploring the theme of futurism for the Performing Arts Festival Performa09 held in New York recently, Marije Vogelzang (Proef) looked to Filippo Tommaso Marinetti's 1932 The Futurist Cookbook for inspiration.

In his book, Marinetti condemned pasta as the worst food to eat on earth because it caused "lethargy, pessimism, nostalgic inactivity, and neutralism" in humans. So for Vogelzang's installation, she encouraged just that by creating a lethargic environment for people to indulge in a delectable carb-filled fest.

The starting point was the iconic pasta making machine. "Pasta machines are great! They are shaped in a very futuristic way and I discovered that the crank of a pastamachine also looks like the crank of a music box and a musicbox works very similar to a pasta machine", explains Marije Vogelzang. "With this idea I combined a musicbox with a pastamachine. When you turn the crank of the pastamachine, the musicbox will be activated too. To make the right tune, I use a long piece of paper with holes, so it too looks like a sheet of pasta with holes turning around."

To exacerbate the pasta lethargy even more, Vogelzang thought to create a sauna environment where diners could feel even more lazy. The steam from the boiling pots of water for cooking pasta filled the small exhibition space, creating a sauna-like effect.

Upon entry, each visitor received a ball of pasta dough and were directed to one of the pasta making installations, where pasta machines were placed on high ladders with pots of boiling water below. The pasta sheets were rolled out from the machines and immediately dropped into the awaiting pots below. So to the sounds of the 'Ride of the Valkyries', 'Twinkle twinkle little star', a Nokia ring tone and Michael Jackson's 'Don't stop 'till you get enough', visitors could stuff their faces with pasta prepared with olive oil, parmesan and fresh herbs to their absolute heart's content: even one of New York's most renowned food personalities Mario Batali was there to join in the sauna party. A delectable way to indulge in lethargy indeed.

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