An Alternative Helpline for the End of the World (2023), Summerhall, Review

Submitted by Erin Roche on Thu, 10 Aug '23 6.04pm
An Alternative Helpline for the End of the World (2023), Summerhall, Review
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Katrine Turner
Katrine Turner
Katrine Turner
Running time

Are you concerned about the end of the world? Enter this mini show lauding the helpline heroes, inspired by systems used by call handlers in the pandemic response.

At the time of your one-to-one showing of An Alternative Helpline for the End of the World, you’ll receive a phone call. You needn’t be in the Summerhall Lobby, where someone on the other line is indeed propped up in the delivery office behind a customer service set, but you can sit and take your phone call near there to watch, if you like. 

The artist making the call will take you through a 15-minute consultation of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions, your responses routing you through an algorithm meant to deliver you the best-fitting advice for your climate and/or apocalypse concerns. This advice, your ‘outcome’, will be a piece of advice for the end of the world. 

Quirky, contemplative and measuredly interactive, this tiny live audio show is a brilliant concept by Katrine Turner, herself a call handler on the Coronavirus Response Helpline. Dealing in end-of-times advice in a paint-by-numbers approach: multiple choice questions, hold music and the customer service script send up the way society manages to present clinical and corporate even in the most raw and exasperatedly human of times. While we grow further disconnected in an increasingly connected world, this delightful bit of performance art playfully mocks the reductive but professional response (human or otherwise) that offers lukewarm yet chipper support in the most challenging times for the human condition. 


10-13, 15-20, 22-27 Aug; Times vary

Suitability: 16+ (Guideline)

Warnings and additional info: This is a remote event. You must be available to take a call from the artist during your time slot and have good network connection. Please ensure you have the correct phone number in your account. Includes audience participation.