No Avoiding the Apocalypse! 2021
Courtesy of the artists
In the early days of the First World War, not long before the opening of the legendary Cabaret Voltaire, Hugo Ball wrote that during such political perturbations, “all living art will be irrational, primitive, and complex; it will speak a secret language and leave behind documents not of edification, but of paradox.” Touching on a wide range of important social and professional issues that concern the artists involved, Techno-Poetry Cooperative’s phantasmagorical video-vaudeville No Avoiding the Apocalypse! is imbued with the spirit of Ball’s “living art” and contains formal references to dada cabaret practices.
The choice of vaudeville—a satirical genre where musical and dance performances and topical sketches play an important part—makes perfect sense within Techno Poetry’s practice, which encompasses activism and art projects residing in the domain of the utopian imagination and self-mockery yet is focused on real issues. They work in a variety of formats, including performance, performative talks and workshops, video, and manifesto songs (No Avoiding the Apocalypse! features tracks from their recent eponymous album).
The vaudeville begins with four queer travesty characters meeting to discuss current issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic and its social, political, and psychological repercussions. In particular, they are interested in the question of social distancing, which they approach in the spirit of Giorgio Agamben’s critical comments on quarantine as a directive power procedure that disconnects people within society. The scene ends with an unanswered question: “Where do we seek refuge?” Answers are proposed by invited “agents of the future,” today’s activists speaking from future worlds that have been brought to reality through their work in the present. In parallel, the storyline develops as a series of “redemption” exercises: conspirological discussions, magic rituals, and interactive healing practices in which the audience is invited to take part.
In the closing scene the characters from the first scene reappear to announce an unfavorable conclusion: “No Avoiding the Apocalypse!” Techno-Poetry believe that whether or not this prophesy will come true or, in terms of Agamben’s “time of the end,” will continue to come true here and now, depends on our activities in the present.
Screenings of the vaudeville No Avoiding the Apocalypse! will take place at Garage Auditorium on Mondays at 20:00 and at weekends at 14:00. Times may change, so please check for updates at the information desk or on the Events page at www.garagemca.org.
During the exhibition, Techno-Poetry Cooperative will also give a concert on the theme of No Avoiding the Apocalypse!, which will take place in the Garage Screen summer cinema. The date of the concert will be announced on the Events page at www.garagemca.org.