A bar
at the end
of the universe

A bar at the end of the universe presents nine videos showing a pre-apocalyptic prep class. Each session consists of a lecture, an interview, or a roundtable with invited guests, hosted in a specific setting: artifacts that suggest a post-apocalyptic amusement park, plastic waste melted down into a Sputnik, and a cybertruck that has crashed from outer space. The Egyptian tanning studio meets the beanbag shaped as a tardigrade with a reflective surface. Imitation ice drill cores have been placed next to a thermic equilibrium machine, and the walls are decorated with posters showing occult molecular structures and Ötzi, and other hominids. Simulated archaeological finds in bronze betoken the end of our present, while sound-absorption panels in the shapes of the continental constellations at the times of the five biggest mass extinctions embed the current situation in the larger framework of the Earth’s history as a whole.

This is the scenery in which the pre-apocalyptic prep class is held, for Terra’s end does not equal the end of the universe. The nine videos gather different intellectual styles and symbolic systems and lead the audience beyond the end.

The project’s title displaces its perspective to an observation point sufficiently remote for an interdisciplinary collage to coalesce. The personalities, experiences, and expertise of objects and guests interact, revealing their different imaginative potentials and forms of knowledge. From academic angles to aesthetic experiences, from pure theory to rigorous physics, all standpoints present their models of the world and for the world. Each guest, after all, is sitting at a bar and telling his-her-its version of the end of the universe.

GUESTS

Conrad Ahrens, Beate Bidjanbeg, Walter „Luigi“ Burgmeier, Tommaso Castelletti, Susanna Delfrati, Charlotte Diedrich, Maditha Dolle, Klara Finck, Dr. Christine Gruber, Iago, Liane und Luzia Klingler, Magdalena Klotz, Almuth Kohnle, Dr. Cornelia Mittendorfer, Christian Modrow, Prof. Lindsey Nicholson, Andrea Pontiggia, Ronja Sophie Putz, Dr. Thomas Rainer, Hannelore Rohrbach, Dr. Alexander Schütze, Anna Schwietering, Dr. Baldassare Scolari, Victoria Wald, Paul Wellenhof, Oliver Zillig.

A bar at the end of the universe
is an idea by Judith Neunhäuserer & Federico Delfrati.

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The astrophysicist Dr. Christine Gruber explains possible scenarios of the cosmos’s death while the pantomime Walter “Luigi” Burgmeier translates her talk into gestures.

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The art historian Dr. Thomas Rainer, the scholar of religion Dr. Baldassare Scolari, and the legal scholar Dr. Cornelia Mittendorfer reenact the foosball tournament’s final showdown and contemplate justice at the end of time.

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As a camp fire crackles in the background, the glaciologist Prof. Lindsey Nicholson presents three predictions on the melting of the glaciers and corresponding key junctures in the planet’s climate history.

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Different onscreen representations of the demise of our species and matching approaches to a solution are discussed by the actors Almuth Kohnle, Conrad Ahrens, Paul Wellenhof, Klara Finck, and Maditha Dolle in the roles of the characters from the contemporary science-fiction blockbuster “Interstellar” and the arthouse classic “Melancholia.” They are the guests in Victoria Wald’s “The resilient night show.”

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Outside the bar, a cybertruck is parked in the rain. The aerospace technician Tommaso Castelletti can be heard speaking on the philosopher Anna Schwietering’s car radio while she tries to familiarize a crossbreed between terrier and chihuahua with the Heideggerian concept of “being-thrown-into-the-space”: How can one leave the planet behind, and what should one expect then?

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The materials scientist Magdalena Klotz and Oliver Zillig, who works in a hospice for the terminally ill, come together in a conversation moderated by the Egyptologist Dr. Alexander Schütze to discuss cyclical ideas of reality, contrasting the recycling of plastic with the reincarnation of souls.

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Optimizable reproductive techniques as another potential way of avoiding the end, heredity, and the propagation of humans and algorithms in extraterrestrial spatiotemporal dimensions: these are the subjects of the chat between the mathematician Andrea Pontiggia and the gynecologist Dr. Susanna Delfrati.

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The Futurological Congress demonstrates how to organize the society of survivors and get a handle on the garbage in the neighborhood. It was organized by members of the subcommittee on culture, youth, and social affairs of the district committee 02 of the city of Munich, Ludwigvorstadt-Isarvorstadt (Beate Bidjanbeg, Christian Modrow, Hannelore Rohrbach). Luzia is crawling around between the legs of tables and local politicians.

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The class concludes with the violinist Ronia Sophie Putz, who plays four movements from Arsen Babajanyan’s “Bilderkette aus der Vergangenheit” (Chain of paintings from the past) in her bathrobe for Charlotte Diedrich.