1. ‘Abax’ or ‘sand table’ uses sand for modelling or educational purposes. The original version of a sand table, the abax, was used by early Greek students. In the modern era, one common use for a sand table is to make terrain models for military planning and wargaming. It is also a common feature of children’s play-schools.
2. ‘One of the most controversial comments made after 9/11 came from the avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, who told a journalist in Hamburg that the attack was ‘the greatest work of art that is possible in the whole cosmos’. His comments caused uproar in Germany, where the association of art with political violence obviously raises troubling historical specters. Whether or not Stockhausen was right to equate terrorism with art – and it would be disingenuous to deny the conceptual violence of his analogy, which he himself quickly recognized and sought to dampen – his comments point to an uncomfortable truth: for more than a century now, artists and terrorists have shared a common intention to produce reactions of shock in the spectator – in other words, to produce a spectacle.’ (Saul Anton, 2011) https://frieze.com/article/out-sight
ABAX, conceived by Stephanie Felber and Alexandra Baybutt, is a site-sensitive durational performance that will take place in different spaces when we can meet in real space and real time (planned for 2022). It is a series of events that take the form of games. The rules of the games are partially exposed in advance, partly dependent upon Guy Debord and Alice Becker-Ho’s game ‘Game of War’. ABAX is created in partnership with the groups who play the game and the audiences who unwittingly end up taking part.
ABAX as Aussichtsplattform (viewing platform)
ABAX uses game structures to approach how training for something trains you back, and how the future unfolds messily but lucidly.
ABAX asks questions about the future. We are united in not knowing it, divided in how we anticipate it. Irrespective, we train for it through playing, through losing, through committing.
ABAX as Austiegsplattform (exit platform / epilogue)
Over the longue durée of a game that embodies all former and future games, we attempt to show how individuals and groups negotiate the challenges of anticipating the unknown and unknowable future.