When I was a teenager, I would record fake newscasts on a cassette player. The tapes were never shared with anyone. Each recording session found me sitting alone in the basement, improvising a broadcast, and immediately listening to it back. Sometimes the skits were funny, other times they were somber or manic. Other times my heart wasn’t in it. The events I reported on, usually grounded in current affairs, would undoubtedly evolve into a mess of grim exaggerations and slapstick doomsday scenarios.
After years of rummaging, I never located the cassettes, which is for the best. Memory amplifies significance, which grows bolder by its distance from the day. As an exercise it provided a way for me to locate myself in a world I didn’t feel I belonged to, self-affirmation through pretend professionalism.
darkZone was founded on March 9, 2019, in a New Jersey basement on Philip Hinge’s 31st birthday. Taking place in Hinge’s childhood home, exhibitions were initially conducted in the crawlspace by the water-heater. While not profound, it is interesting to note that the space is located directly below the family room.
The basement was a multi-generational archive of familiar ephemera and mechanical parts and pieces to outdated or broken technology. Emotionally and practically the basement exemplified the “waste not, want not” mentality of its dwellers. Entire biographies were available to those who would take the time to sift through its dense contents.
After five shows, darkZone spread to Hinge’s band rehearsal studio, still intact with drum set. The band, Reverie, played progressive metal with death metal influences. They self-released one album and broke up shortly thereafter. From that show on, each show would reveal a little more the cluttered basement, giving a clear vision of the subterranean realm.
darkZone was created with a one-year expiration date in mind. Hinge’s parents were set to retire, sell the house, and move. Due the pandemic the sales process was postponed and darkZone would continue past initial estimates, ultimately mounting 15 shows over a course of two and half years.