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Drinking Beer at the End of the World: A Booze Cruise in the Anthroposcene
July 12 @ 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Meet at Smith & 9th street Brooklyn G stop. Look for Death, our guide.
This event is part of the Exhibition Wicket Leeks, in the Flux Gallery from June 22nd to July 13th
In “The Bloody Latte” Ian Svenonius figures our beverage consumption as a type of colonialist bloodsucking. Vodka comes to represent the United States’ victory over Russia in the cold war, and, even further, the totalizing power of capitalism. Coffee represents colonial dominion over Africa. In this manner we drink the blood of our “enemies.” My project “Drinking Beer at the End of the World” is somewhere between a Situationist derive (Debord, an infamous drunk who oft bemoaned the homogenizing effect of capital on local styles of drink, once remarked “I have written much less than most people who write; but I have drunk much more than most people who drink”), a Speed Levitch tour (or “cruise”) of NYC, and the recently popular “beer run” events in which health conscious imbibers sprint from bar to bar to guzzle pints. But wait, you’re saying, beer isn’t food! Wrong! Just ask the monks of Paulner, who developed the doppelbock in the 1600s as a “liquid bread” on which they sustained themselves for the 40 days of lent. Or perhaps ask your average English field laborer circa 1400 or so, for whom a glass of ale was a critical source of calories at both breakfast and lunch (until coffee, with cream and sugar for calories, became widely available, radically transforming the productive capacity of the workforce). Ok, but what does beer have to do with sports? Well I’m sorry but if you really have to ask that question you must be quite dense. Beer and sports of course go hand in hand. Many a television screen has been destroyed by a half empty Labatt Blue can haphazardly chucked by a intoxicated and long suffering Buffalo Bills fan. Americans even go so far as to make drinking a competitive sport unto itself, the grand prize being a case of cirrhosis (a tendency that has been particularly amplified by social media, see accounts such as: @officialusadrinkingteam on instagram). Ok ok, but WHAT is this piece exactly? Well its simply a kind of marathon performance lecture and beer tour through New York City, hosted by Death (played by yours truly). Participants will start out jogging to their first destination and are encouraged to dress in athletic wear. We will bounce from brewery to bar, sampling local styles and probably slowing to a stroll as the day wears on, discussing topics from the role of craft beer in gentrifying neighborhoods and re-invigorating disused industrial spaces to how climate change threatens to destroy the art of lambic brewing. Along the way we might find ourselves playing surreal versions of classic pub games, or seeing who can kick a proper field goal after a pint or two. I’m hoping to rope in friends from the beer and art worlds to help me along the way (and give me a chance to catch my breath). The event will, of course, be designed to discourage intemperance and be safe and fun for anyone of drinking age. Teetotalers are begrudgingly welcome.