Zone X

© Mario Debaene

The end of 2019 marked the beginning of a new era. How will people in a couple of decades from now be looking at this specific era, marked as it is by an avalanche of political, social, pandemic, ecological crises... What will future historians claim to be the causes of events that have not occurred yet? In the research for Zone X I’ll have a microscopic look at ourselves as the strange creatures we will be in the eyes of our descendants.

15 participants at a time gather in the center of the city. A female guide with Asian roots is awaiting her 'tourists'. Guide Miko is pretty, a bit bizarre, and fully clad in futuristic protective clothing. She welcomes everybody: these happy few owe their unique experience to the only tour operator with a license to enter Zone X since the 2034 catastrophe. But only when the Security Council estimates the current circumstances to be safe, the tour can start. Factors that come into play are a.o. the soil's acidity, the radiation of the 7G masts and the estimated level of discontentment with the locals. Finally, she hands outs the required protective clothing, as the area they are about to enter together is highly contaminated. And so a guided tour through the vivid ruins of the early 21st-century starts, leading past seemingly insignificant places: a bench, a tree, a shop window, a public toilet. What remains of the people we are today, in the midst of a whirlpool of crises? For a duration of 45 minutes Miko the guide will present her tourists the traces we have left behind. Quite a lot of information has been lost, but the ever optimistic Miko creatively fills the gaps, by trial and error. She uses words and a menacing soundscape that she herself controls. Her look at our world is alienating yet compassionate.