ALF 03

The Man, Who Turned the Barbeque into the Center of the World / Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius

In memoriam Matthias Rick

Few weeks ago we received a text from the past talking about the future. A text that used strong words in a language we knew. The lyrics to a melody so familiar, yet the sound was fading away. The transcription of Matthias Ricks lecture in Vilnius in February 2012 is the last noted down document of Mathias Rick before he died in April 2012. It is the summary of his visions for the world. That is why it is very valuable to us.

Matthias was an Anarchitect. As a student he refused to finish his studies. As an Architect he refused to build houses. But he loved architectural Ideas. He was an activist, he was politically involved, he squatted houses, he organised groups and meetings and associations, he played in a band that toured Russia and he co- founded the Institute for Applied Building Arts (Berlin, 1997). He designed spaces for all these. But a diploma? A document that proved his abilities as a planner? What for? He did not need that (but finally managed to get one in his 20st semester). Matthias was a social engineer and as such reinvented the barbecue as a new space. The fusion of fireplace and stove, a place to get warm and feed yourself, but never alone, always in a collective, that was his element. Matthias and i lived in a communal house for 14 years. Here the kitchen became the social focus, the place of exchange and joy, meetings and parties. With a concert on the stove with the Sound of cooking Matthias started a sheer endless series of kitchen experiments. The most prominent of these was for sure the ‘Kitchenmonument’, but also the all day food lecture events ‘some ideas for better cities’ and the Eichbaum barbecue concerts on a subway station in Mülheim where Matthias passionate projects.

Three years ago on November 11th 2011 Matthias took part in my stage show about extreme cooking cultures called ‘exchange radical recipes’. He took the challenge to reconstruct the recipe for the dinner between Hitler and Stalin on the day of their ‘Nichtangriffspakt’ in 1939, which was an important step in Hitler’s strategy for the 2nd World War. The two deadly rivals attracted each other and still had completely different habits. One ate only meat, the other one was a vegetarian. Imagine the difficult situation indeed of the cook, who had to treat them equal for the sake of the peace in Europe.

With celery and raw meat, pomegranate and onions, positioned on a big table, Matthias passionately described the situation in Europe at the edge of a war. And whilst moving around the vegetables, prepared them for the peak moment: the design of a dinner for a meeting - which unfortunately never happened for real - but if it had, could have saved the world from total war to lasting peace - that was Matthias thesis. Matthias became the cook for the peace treaty dinner and as such prepared identical schnitzel for both of them: for Stalin it was made from real meat and for Hitler made from celery. Matthias was a fearless visionary, he was the grillmaster of peace. He changed the world. We miss him.