'Doomocracy' Is the Election-Themed Haunted House We Need
The upcoming election is no laughing matter, and we’re in the homestretch of nearly two years of spirit-stultifying rhetoric and unceasing torrents of televised bile. A large swath of America in 2016 has revealed itself to be racist, desperate, or plain stupid, and the existential dread unleashed by this election cycle isn’t going to get stuffed back in its box anytime soon. This is an alarming, dangerous time, ripe for creative expression, and Mexican artist Pedro Reyes might just be up to the task.
Doomocracy, according to the show’s Kickstarter, is an immersive installation set to debut in October at Sunset Park’s Brooklyn Army Terminal, in conjunction with the art collective Creative Time. Its goal is to merge the twinned horrors of Halloween — scary, fun! — and the November election — harrowing, devastating — into one vast exhibit. From Creative Time:
How much surveillance are we willing to accept? How much pollution? How much corporate malfeasance? Provoking what Reyes calls “political catharsis,” this immersive artwork will distill the horrors of our political landscape into the form of a haunted house, inviting us to navigate a maze of near apocalyptic torments, from climate change to pandemic gun violence to GMOs. Visitors to Doomocracy will work their way through a labyrinth of rooms, exploring the depth and breadth of American political anxieties.
Reyes has brought his work to New York before: In 2011, he worked with the Guggenheim to open Sanatorium, a "transient clinic" that first offered visitors (patients) a diagnosis, then prescribed several personalized therapies, ranging from theater warm-up exercises to corporate coaching to hypnosis. The goal of his art generally is to use "large-scale projects that take existing social problems and imagine solutions for a happier world."
Creative Time, for its part, has a sterling track record of producing extraordinary events around the city: Most recently, Duke Riley’s Fly by Night exhibit featured tiny LED lights strapped to homing pigeons released at dusk. Prior to that, the group brought us a massive, exceptional Kara Walker exhibit that took over the now-defunct Domino sugar factory, Nick Cave’s "horses" grazing in Grand Central Terminal, and the annual Tribute in Light, which illuminates the night sky each September 11th. Based on the description of Doomocracy, it seems unlikely we should expect anything less from this one.
"Be forewarned, Doomocracy will challenge you both physically and mentally and by choosing to enter you will encounter all those ‘mature content’ things you’re usually warned of…and more," reads a disclaimer. "Taking place in the midst of a vital moment in history, our project offers the perfect platform and location for dialogue around the contemporary state of global and U.S. politics. Bringing an immersive ‘society is on the verge of complete chaos’ experience to life takes set building, actors, costumes, props.… Politics ain’t cheap and the show must (and will!) go on."
The show will open October 7th and run through Halloween — just over a week before the election. So far, with eight days left, the Kickstarter is has nearly $67,000 of its $80,00 goal. The event is free, but tickets are limited, so get ‘em now.
Get the Theater Newsletter
Get a rundown of upcoming theater events and ticket deals in New York.