What triggered and fuelled this project?

Alexis O’Hara: During the pandemic, against the backdrop of climate catastrophe, we started thinking about the cloud through three different lenses: the cloud as a cable where our data is stored, which we imagine as clean and in the sky, but really it’s dirty and under the ocean; the cloud as a drug and dependence on media, which is filling a giant hole in our souls; and finally, the cloud as a storm, which is about catastrophe, loss of habitat, and death.

And we read a lot of books and watched a ton of disaster and science fiction movies, in which archetypal characters appear again and again. One of them goes back to Cassandra, who, in Greek mythology, was cursed to always speak the truth but to never be believed, a bit like today’s environmentalists.      


You describe your work as “satirical political activism” created in a “total spirit of queer imagineering.” What do you mean by those phrases?

Atom Cianfarani: For a few years I’ve been obsessed with the idea of “imagineering,” which combines “imagination” and “engineering”—the idea of creativity that creates worlds. I love the combination of queer and imagineering as an approach to creating a non-normative world. The politics behind our work is very clear, like our anti-capitalist stance and refusal to participate in normative culture. With this work, words matter. They’re very effective at saying exactly what you want to say.

A.O.: Comedy is a very efficient way to get across difficult concepts. If you want to go deep, you need levity and detachment, otherwise people resist and put up walls. Using satire allows people to laugh at themselves instead of becoming defensive. 


You take an eco-responsible approach. What consequences does that have, and what compromises does it entail, in your creative process and daily life?

A.C.: As an example, the set is entirely made out of material we’ve collected, and I’m sure the costumes will be too. We’re garbage-pickers and we have a big collection of materials, enough for a store in our basement! I’m obsessed with DIY and woodworking encyclopedias from the 1950s and 1960s. They’re a great source of knowledge. You can find plans and tips for making whatever you want.

A.O.: For us, it’s about reducing. The three Rs that are always being mentioned are reduce, reuse, recycle. But no one wants to talk about “reduce”. There’s this false idea that all of our society will fall apart if people stop shopping, because capitalism depends on consuming. We choose to work on a small scale to keep things light and use things that can travel easily or be found anywhere. We prioritize an intimate relationship with the audience, which means a small venue. It speaks to our ethics, which notably run counter to “digital transformation”—which puts strong pressure on artists—where the idea of newness and consumption is a major factor.    


What are you inviting us to do? What values do you want to share with the audience?

A.C.: I’d like people to walk out of the performance and change their lives, but that will never happen. We want people to stay active, to be aware of the importance of engaging with their own choices, and to realize that it’s really their lives that are at stake. We’d like them to reflect on the way their choices affect others.

A.O.: I think we’re trying to address and share our ideas about climate catastrophe, but not by hitting people over the head. We believe art has a potential to educate and also to provide joy. This work will not have a happy ending, but the aim is to produce joy as a driving force of life.

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