A wardrobe door in the attic leads into a giant domed cinema. The tiered seating is composed of rows of executive style office chairs that sit behind miniature personal desks, each outfitted with telephones, note pads, cup holders and a selection of single serving snacks. These zones of personal comfort could almost be the cabins for a business-class pleasure craft. Plastered on the arched ceiling are several large-scale cartographic diagrams of an unfamiliar four-dimensional terrain.
Are these geographies of cybernetic, time-dilated scenarios? Am I in a planetarium for the speculated worlds of the Hunting Valley Institute? Before I can even ask, the lights click off and Doctor Doug puts on a film that he announces as an amateur ethnographic study of the San San. The physical setting of the film is the placeless and timeless location of the “set.”
People exist solely in pictures on the wall, footage on monitors or voices from a stereo. The aesthetic has the surrealistic banality of a breakfast cereal commercial. The San San in the film, and to a certain extent the entire bunker, articulates a world where humans have been extricated from the narrative and the objects haven taken center stage.
My tour through the abandoned bunker had, up until this point, been a slow creep of confusion. But sitting in the pleather loungers snacking on Sicilian almonds I suddenly slip into a total spatio-temporal haze. Searching for some anchor to the present I turn to Doctor Doug, who isn’t watching the film, but applying a turquoise foundation to his already ultrasmooth complexion.