“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
– George Orwell: “Nineteen Eighty-Four”
Gob Squad travel back to 1984, back to the good old analogue days when life was simple and there were only three channels on TV. It’s a perilous journey: they might get lost in music, lost in nostalgia or both. But once they arrive, they discover their younger selves: caught up in the Cold War, fearful of nuclear catastrophe, trying to shape who they might become. As they sift through the fragments of their teenage bedrooms, they reconstruct their own personal past, and the music drags them into a psychedelic virtual world of disembodied avatars. Under surveillance and under pressure, they fight, dance, build a nuclear shelter and try to dismantle what may have been written into their programming codes. Were these teenagers in control of their bodies, their fate and their ability to change things? Or were they following ready-made templates, part of a larger plan? Can they re-programme their own story, and influence the currents of history? Or at least see it through different eyes? As Gob Squad warp time and go back to a past which saw ‘No Future’, are they able to shed light on the present, and gain a perspective on what lies ahead?
The new production follows in the tradition of other works by Gob Squad, which reimagine and recast YouTube videos, Hollywood films and Andy Warhol art movies. The project brings to a head the company’s ongoing examination of the mechanisms of power inherent in our image-saturated world and the relationship of personal experience to political reality. In Gob Squad’s work, everyday life and magic, banality and utopia, reality and entertainment are all set on a collision course. The audience is invited into a world of light and shadow to bear witness to an experiment in performative science-fiction and imaginary time-travel. Nothing less than the future itself is at stake…
In a research phase for the production, four international residencies took place in Bangalore/ Mumbai (India), Leipzig (Germany), New York (USA) and Shanghai (China) for the purpose of broadening our perspectives and narrative. We thank all our participants for their input, their stories and the mind-expanding exchange.
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Zona K / Teatro Out Off
HAU - Hebbel am Ufer (HAU2)
HAU - Hebbel am Ufer (HAU3)
Concept and Direction
Johanna Freiburg, Sean Patten, Sharon Smith, Berit Stumpf, Sarah Thom, Bastian Trost, Simon Will, Damian Rebgetz and Tatiana Saphir
Sebastian Bark, Catalina Fernandez, (Isabel Gonzalez Toro)
Miles Chalcraft, Noam Gorbat
Lighting Design and Technical Management
Chris Umney, Max Wegner
Dramaturgy and Production Management
VR Consultancy, Development and Design
Set Design Assistant
Rodrigo Zorzanelli Cavalcanti
World Premiere 13 April 2021 at SORT/HVID Copenhagen, Denmark
1984 – Back To No Future
Is a production by Gob Squad. In co-production with HAU Hebbel am Ufer Berlin, The Public Theater NY (USA), Schauspiel Leipzig, Anuja Ghosalkar / Drama Queen & Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai (India), HELLERAU – European Center for the Arts Dresden, Sort / Hvid Copenhagen and Teater Momentum Odense (Denmark).
Gob Squad is regularly funded within the Konzeptförderung programme 2020 – 2023 by the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa Berlin.
Supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.
In a research phase for the production, four international residencies took place. Thank you to all participants for their input and the mind-expanding exchange.
New York residency
Janani Balasubramanian with contributions by Afra Ashraf and Salvador Placensia
Floria Susan Moghimi
The Illustrious Blacks
Prof. Tina Bara
Dr. Alexander Lange
and dramaturgy students (Artistic Research and Transformation seminar) at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Leipzig:
Dozenten: Dr. Dag Kemser, Thomas Frank
Mumbai/ Bangalore residency
Workshop hosted by:
Starting Realities, an international workshop series on Documentary theatre curated by Kai Tuchmann and Anuja Ghosalkar
Sophie B. Roy
Shanghai residency curated by:
Shanghai residency hosted by:
Dinghaiqiao Mutual-Aid Society (ZHAO Yiren, CHEN Zhuqin, ZHANG Dawei, XING Xing, ZHU Lina)
ao_ao_ing ensemble (LIN Cuixi, July YANG, Eva LOU, Dan T Fang, XIAO Meiyue, Selena LU)