Taking a vacation from capitalism

This art project lets you escape, engage and learn.

click to enlarge Zachary Gough wants you to take a break. - REBECCA DINGWELL
Rebecca DIngwell
Zachary Gough wants you to take a break.

The Commoners’ Almanac: Spring Break From Capitalism
The Living Room Theatre
2353 Agricola Street
To April 15

While many folks can’t afford a tropical March vacation, plenty of us could stand to take a break from the daily grind of our capitalist society.

That’s the premise behind The Commoners’ Almanac: Spring Break From Capitalism—a project by Zachary Gough. It’s almost a literal a slice of the beach in Halifax, featuring a slushie machine and a patch of sand in The Living Room Theatre. If the sun’s not shining, one can take advantage of the daylight-simulating lights (the kind sometimes used to treat seasonal affective disorder). For an extra dose of sun, some of the slushies contain vitamin D.

“Within this space, we seek to engage with each other in a different way,” says Gough, who teamed up with local organizations such as DaPoPo Theatre and Starfish Group to make the project happen.

“We hope that it can be a little bit of a break from regular activism,” he adds. “Regular activism is often really hard, heavy, never-ending.”

The space, Gough explains, is somewhere activists can be together and relate to each other while also having fun. Dancing and speed friending are part of the exhibition’s events, along with more serious gatherings. Those include a panel discussion on fascism and a discussion about mental health.

Participants can also take part in workshops from theatre and dance to dumpster diving. Esther Fraser is leading the Commoners' Contra Workshop to choreograph, write and develop a "contra dance that depicts cooperative economy."

"So that's taking the form of contra dance and adapting it," says Gough. The workshop followed by a potluck as well as a performance.

The Spring Break events will be capped off with a dry dance party on April 13, with the exhibition ending two days later.

Gough feels “carving out a little space that is devoid of capitalism” gives people the chance to imagine “how our relationships might look in a post-capitalist society.”

“I think it’s a kind of utopia.”

A publication coinciding with the Spring Break From Capitalism theme is forthcoming.

See commonersalmanac.org for full event details.

Update: The Gentrification Walking Tour has been canceled and the article has been edited to reflect that.

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