Doomocracy: Pedro Reyes’ Political Haunted House in the Brooklyn Army Terminal

doomocracy-pedro-reyes-brooklyn-army-terminal-nyc-untapped-citiesImage via Will Star Shooting Stars Pro

Like any other haunted house, Doomocracy will definitely leave you feeling uneasy – just not in a way you would expect it to. You won’t come across fake blood, cheap thrills or creepy, fantastical monsters as you navigate the space. Instead, the immersive, politically themed installation, housed inside the Brooklyn Army Terminal, leads participants through a series of thought-provoking rooms, crafted by artist (and mastermind) Pedro Reyes. In the process, two seemingly unrelated events – Halloween and the upcoming presidential election – are brought together in an oddly educational and eerie spectacle.

doomocracy-pedro-reyes-brooklyn-army-terminal-nyc-untapped-cities6Image via Christos Katsiaouni

The result of a collaborative effort between Reyes and Creative Time, a New York-based public arts nonprofit, Doomocracy was designed to generate shock and create dialogue around the current political climate.

“Pedro is a master of creating socially and politically engaged installations. When he proposed the idea for a satirical political haunted house, we knew it was a timely, relevant, and necessary project—and represented our commitment to art that engages with and shapes the public dialogue,” says Katie Hollander, Creative Time Executive Director.

As a large complex of warehouses and businesses, The Brooklyn Army Terminal provides a surreal, almost post-apocalyptic backdrop for the event. Before the experience even begins, patrons are immediately greeted by a looming Statue of Liberty, represented as a Trojan horse; it stands in front of a long, dark corridor that leads down to a small holding room where everyone is split into smaller groups of 12.

doomocracy-pedro-reyes-brooklyn-army-terminal-nyc-untapped-cities4Artist Pedro Reyes. Image via Will Star Shooting Stars Pro

Upon entering the haunted house, the experience unfolds suddenly and without warning. Reyes, whose work often promotes active participation, utilizes a variety of media, including sculpture, performance and video, to trigger sensory reactions from his audience. As each group navigates through the series of rooms, spread across three floors, participants will encounter short skits dealing with controversial issues, such as gun violence, climate change and abortion.

One such room is set up as a makeshift polling place, where participants must fill out referendum ballots behind voting booths; a second room highlights the nation’s diabetes epidemic by simulating a funeral parlor, where coffins are made out of desserts.

doomocracy-pedro-reyes-brooklyn-army-terminal-nyc-untapped-cities3Image via Will Star Shooting Stars Pro

doomocracy-pedro-reyes-brooklyn-army-terminal-nyc-untapped-cities2Image via Will Star Shooting Stars Pro

Most skits require some sort of active audience participation (and in some cases, physical activity), but a few performances are simply meant to be viewed by the audience. Take for example, Doomocracy’s simulation of an artisanal boutique that sells bottled Himalayan air. In a satirical, but poignant monologue, the actress stationed at this room reveals what our environmental future could potentially look like.

doomocracy-pedro-reyes-brooklyn-army-terminal-nyc-untapped-cities5Image via Will Star Shooting Stars Pro

As we draw nearer to the end of this year’s heated political season, Doomocracy serves as a reminder of the major issues relevant to the future of our nation. Instead of resorting to archaic means of communication, Pedro Reyes’ politically-themed haunted house shakes us all awake through its thought-provoking performances, surreal scenarios and some good natured scare tactics.

Doomocracy (Oct. 7 – Nov. 6) is curated by Nato Thompson and directed by Meghan Finn. For more information, click here

Next, check out 10 Fun Facts About the Brooklyn Army Terminal You Might Not Know and 12 Anti-Trump Works of Street Art in NYC: 2016 Presidential Election Mania.

 Brooklyn Army Terminal, Creative Tiime, Donald Trump, Doomocracy, Hillary Clinton, Pedro Reyes

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