The performance YOUTH WITHOUT GOD is based on motifs from Odon von Horvath’s novel of the same name and largely inspired by the life and work of Franco “Bifo” Berardi (particularly his book of essays “Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide”).
Youth Without God is a postdramatic theatre performance based on motifs from Odon von Horvath’s novel of the same name and largely inspired by Franco “Bifo” Berardi’s book of essays “Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide.”
The plot begins with a scene that von Horvath’s novel ends with: a high school teacher deciding to abandon his life and leave Europe for Africa. In the performance YOUTH WITHOUT GOD, the teacher, channeling Bifo, remains present virtually through video messages to his students who are no longer faceless Nazi youth but historical figures, mass murderers: Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, Cho Seng Hui, Pekka Auvinen, even terrorist Andres Behring Breivik. The act of murder committed out of curiosity in von Horvath’s world becomes a spectacularized mass murder in the contemporary world, accompanied by a clear media message and ultimately suicide. The entire plot of the performance takes place in one of the characters’ basement, their “black hole” that might as well be the hell from the FPS video game “Doom” that inspired the performers’ stage movement.
YOUTH WITHOUT GOD is a multimedia performance “operated” by the performers themselves. In real time, the audience follows both the production of video material and its projection, i.e. witnesses the coexistence of reality and its hyperreal (video) product. The material produced is based on documents – footage, journals and photographs of school shooters further built upon with paraphrased photographs from the US military prison in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib, as well as the film “Natural Born Killers.”
Using deconstruction, documentarity and intertextuality as its primary devices, the performance thematizes upbringing and education, the STEM revolution, the digital generation and the fascism of the neoliberal market, posing the central question, the one that Berardi ends his book with: “What can be done when nothing can be done?”