Curated by Ana Sophie Salazar


Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 7pm
The Duplex Cabaret Theater, West Village, NYC


Participating artists:
Arc Iris
Lorenzo Bueno & Conor Messinger
Gabi Lenhard
Steve Roggenbuck
Demony Rosa
Virgil Taylor
Bo Wang


PATAFEST is a new festival devoted to the imaginary, the absurd, and the political, dwelling in the philosophical exploration of the relationship between the human and the animal. This festival is the result of joining our interests in artistic expression, socio-political issues, and collaborative practices into one curatorial format. The name of the festival draws from the idea of “pataphysics,” which was defined in the late nineteenth century by the French Symbolist writer Alfred Jarry as a branch of philosophy that examines imaginary phenomena beyond metaphysics. PATAFEST is interested in the absurdist nature of this imaginary science and uses the absurd as a methodology for deconstructing assumptions, questioning the status quo, and reconfiguring language to build more diversified and complex discourses. The festival brings together a variety of art forms including performance, music, literature, dance, film, cabaret, theater, and visual arts. At the core lie our interests in our animal nature and the political in our societal existence.


The launching event of PATAFEST is an experimental cabaret evening exploring the absurd and celebrating the 100th anniversary of Cabaret Voltaire, a significant moment in art history, which pushed forward new ideas and world views. Cabaret Voltaire, a cabaret for artistic and political purposes and the home of Dadaism, was founded by German and Romanian artists and writers on February 5th, 1916, in Zurich. At the time, WWI generated a huge wave of migration in Europe. The Dadaist formed an anti-establishment artistic movement, responding to the nonsense and horrors of the world with nonsense in art as a critical tool. We want to rethink the format of cabaret within our contemporary context and to reframe the legacy of Dada. Today, 100 year later, we too are living a reality of conflict and migration. War has dislocated hundreds of thousands of people. Economic crises have also forced a new form of nomadism. How can we in turn address this nonsensical reality with the absurd as an access point to understand and confront it? Can this specific moment of crisis generate a collectivity as has happened in the past? PATAFEST explores this possibility through a political variety show that includes music, cabaret, performance, poetry, drag, and video, unifying artistic voices into a loud and dissonant chorus.




PATAFEST is presented as part of a festival of final projects curated by the inaugural class of SVA MA Curatorial Practice.


Image Credit: Performance by Arc Isis, 2016, Courtesy of the Curator

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MA Curatorial Practice 
School of Visual Arts

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