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An interactive performance is secretly taking place inside this famous furniture store

Written by
Howard Halle

When you hear the phrase “assembly required” and “meatballs” in the same sentence, which global furniture chain do you immediately think off? Wait, don’t say the name! That would spoil the fun behind a piece of guerrilla theater that’s currently having its run inside everyone’s favorite Red Hook retailer where the stuff has funny, Scandinavian names.

Conceived as part of the Exponential Festival in Brooklyn, “Assemble,” as the work is called, involves a smartphone app that takes you to the aforementioned establishment, whose name is never mentioned. There, you move through various floor displays of bedroom, living room, bathroom or kitchen decor as you listen over headphones to a story being relayed by a character named Jane.

Having just turned 40, Jane reflects on her mid-life crises through a narrative that shifts according to where you are in the store. As you move about, Jane’s recollections of various memories, fantasies and fuck-ups are prompted by your interactions with the space and the items therein.

Assemble creates drama out of the otherwise exhausting tedium of dealing with Ik—er, the store’s—contention that navigating twisting, never-ending aisles of easily breakable shit constituents a satisfying shopping experience.

Your destination is disclosed when you buy tickets, and an access code to download the app is provided once you get there. The show runs every 15 minutes from 5pm to 7pm, Thursday to Monday, through February 2. Don’t forget to try the meatballs.

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