Pedro Reyes considers haunted houses to be a slice of American folk art—a seasonal display that every town and city in the country puts on for their own entertainment. Reyes, an artist with a history of social cynicism, is excited about the haunted house show he’s about to put on in cooperation with the New York public art organization Creative Time.
Doomocracy will be a professional haunted house on a grand scale, occupying the huge Brooklyn Army terminal. Deliberately planned to coincide with the tense buildup of the American presidential campaign, it’s even more American than most—it’s election-themed!
“The strange thing about this project is that the worse things are in the news, the better it is for us,” says Reyes. The more awful this election season gets, the more fodder he has for the kind of masochistic satire common in haunted houses. He has nearly 50 actors to scatter throughout the fright scenarios, the set pieces meant to pause and scare visitors. They don’t only draw on the election—also featured are policemen, corporate monsters, drone pilots, and Big Pharma.
While Reyes’ previous art projects have largely been about hope for the future, Doomocracy is rather despairing. It shows the “classroom of the future” as a corporate-sponsored computer entity, a gaggle of rich folk throwing a party to congratulate themselves for having an escape plan from a doomed planet, and housewives throwing a sort of Tupperware party for handguns. Certainly, it doesn’t shy away from political hot points—rather, it uses them for fuel.
Doomocracy will be performed at timed intervals from 6pm to midnight on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through November 6th, and encourages all to remember to vote by November 8th. It is located at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, 140 58th Street, and tickets are free.