Nicola Rae: Partial Lunar View: Vostok-VI, 2020
New Moon, LUMEN Crypt Gallery, St John on Bethnal Green,
200 Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA. 23rd - 26th Oct 2019.
Curators: LUMEN: Melanie King, Louise Beer, Rebecca Huxley.

 

'Partial Lunar View: Vostok-VI' explores the liminal observations experienced by Soviet Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova through the porthole within her descent module Vostok-VI during June 1963. The Soviet Space program wanted to find out the effects of space on the female body, represented by the phasing lunar cycle, but Valentina was sometimes evasive in her logbook. Instead she took photographs, talked to Nikita Khrushchev and noticed that the orientation of her craft was so out of alignment that when she applied the brakes to start her descent she would have been fired further into a higher orbit where she would have died. Vostok-VI was re-programmed and after 48 orbits over 71 hours in space, it re-entered the atmosphere where Tereshkova parachuted 20,000 feet to earth. Later she became a cosmonaut engineer as well as a politician in the Supreme Soviet, the USSR's national parliament, becoming Soviet representative to numerous international women's organisations.