In the midst of climate collapse, a variety of earth shattering crises, and paradigm shifts, it becomes reflexive to declare that »we are all doomed«. The end seems to be accelerating, leaving us with an anxious ringing in our ears and existential fears coupled with feelings of grief for the destroyed environment and the loss of potential futures. In DOOM, directed and choreographed by Layton Lachman, and conceptually developed in sonic collaboration with Samuel Hertz, this amalgamation of feelings is transposed onto the dark stage of an empty theatre, where collective grief becomes a cathartic embodied experience.
At first, Ethan Allison Folk’s cine- matography suggests that DOOM is a documentary about an apocalyptic doom metal band, yet it unfolds into a celebration, a sonic sermon, or perhaps a ritual filled with magic in the face of a looming catastrophe. In Some Styles of Masculinity, Gregg Bordowitz draws a parallel between prophets and rock stars, with both allegedly having access to divinity. They have been authorised to convey a message, respectively through sacred words or radio waves. This reference is a crucial element of DOOM, where rock stars are not wannabe gods, but rather guides who are showing us a less fatalistic route to the future.
As the four performers — emeka ene, Caroline Neill Alexander, Hertz, and Lachman — take on different personas, they become archetypes whose divergent, elaborately costumed characters complement each other in both movement and appearance. At times they move together while chained to one another, emerging from the dystopian orange fog of a smoke machine. At another moment they assemble, hold each other and vocalise together, only to let this collective shriek crumble into yet another dreamlike scenario, wherein ene rides a bicycle in endless, infinity-shaped loops.
Through Samuel Hertz’s compositions we travel from the contemporary space-time of the club, through droning, distorted metal guitars. This high-volume sound moves us into soundscapes beyond human, from cracking icebergs to the movements of tectonic plates in deep-time dimensions. At times, the sound becomes shockingly quiet: All that can be heard is the performers’ heavy breathing. Yet it always resumes at an even higher intensity. (Kris Dittel)
Directed by Layton Lachman
In Sonic Collaboration with Samuel Hertz
Cinematography by Ethan Allison Folk
Danced with emeka ene & Caroline Neill Alexander
Production by Layton Lachman/Samuel Hertz in co-production with Tanztage Berlin/ SOPHIENSÆLE, supported by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe. Additional Funding by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media in the program NEUSTART KULTUR, aid programs DIS-TANZEN of the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland and Musikfonds e.V.
Images: Layton Lachman, DOOM, 2021 © Layton Lachman, Ethan Allison Folk