Introduction / Democracia
“When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich”
ORDER is an opera that seeks to radically critique the conventions and injustices of capitalism. Conversations began in 2014, with Democracia wanting to create their own Gesamtkunstwerk (the total artwork), an opus that would comprise a tripartite operatic-film and an expansive accompanying installation, presenting artefacts, artworks and documentation from the opera.
Presented in three acts are a series of carefully engineered interventions in public and private spaces. Filmed between Houston, Dublin and London, ORDER moves between open-carry demonstrations, out-of- town shopping malls and lavish dinners, to present the historic antagonisms of the oppressors and the oppressed.
Act I – Eat the Rich/Kill the Poor – brings the viewer to the tension and power of an armed demonstration by the New Black Panthers in Houston. Democracia presents the group’s empowerment – organised, armed, purposeful and discontented. This is juxtaposed with the character of inherited wealth who lectures on the virtues of work from the safety of her gilded limousine. Act II – Konsumentenchor – explores the dynamics of contemporary consumerism with its innate drives to devour and deplete in spite of all consequences, with the collaboration of a youth church choir intervening in a shopping centre in Tallaght. The final act – Dinner at the Dorchester – observes two embedded characters at a private party who surprise the unknowing guests with a confrontation between the privileged and the the oppressed.
The libretto of ORDER is inspired by the Greek poet Hesiod’s poem Work & Days, in particular, it’s telling of the Myth of The Five Ages. Written during the Ancient Greek agrarian crisis – a time of colonial expansion, debt slavery and class war; Work & Days bears stark and pertinent correlations to our present context.
ORDER is a joint commission between a/political & Station Museum of Contemporary Art, produced with the assistance and support of CANADA, Rua Red Gallery, and The Lobby.