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Relics Offers Futuristic Look at the Present

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Starting Friday, you will have a chance to take a veritable time machine to a world 300 years in the future. All you need to do is take one of the two elevators to the ninth floor of the Guthrie Theater.

There, a team of artists and performers will present Relics. The conceit? You are attending a gala opening for a new exhibit centered on recently uncovered artifacts from the far-flung past: 2014, to be exact.

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"We are looking at things that we, as a society, hold as sacred," says Nick Golfis, who has led the art side of the project.

That means things like iPhones, tanning beds, and the other debris of modern first-world life will be on display, complete with a possible future's interpretation of what they meant.

The concept started as a fine-art show, but it soon spread to the performing parts. Part of the idea is to show other uses for the Dowling Studio space, Golfis says.

"You get off the elevators, and immediately the event is surrounding you," says co-conspirator Sarah Agnew.

The tone and subject matter appealed to Chantal Pavageaux, the third key player in the project. "I like any kind of dystopian future. There are so many different ways this could go. It felt full of possibilities."

You can think of Relics as a kind of haunted house, except that the goal isn't exactly to scare the audience. "It infiltrates your skin," Pavageaux says.

"We want it to be a mystery. It evolves and unlocks itself as you go through the experience. There are interactive portions of it. You can choose to submit or just walk by," Golfis says.

"People are never forced to do anything," Pavageaux adds. "And you won't be singled out. We want the audience to feel welcomed."

There is a story woven into the various exhibits and the events of the opening gala. Some of that came as the performing group explored the world they created and found places to build on. "There are two different philosophical camps of people [in Relics] who are in conflict. A lot of our story comes from these two groups," Golfis says.

Ultimately, the creators of Relics hope audiences may pause a bit after seeing the show. "We hope people will look at their key chain or their phone, and think about the things they saw," Pavageaux says.

IF YOU GO:

Relics Friday through November 23 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 7 p.m. Sundays. Additional 9 p.m. performances scheduled for multiple evenings. Guthrie Theater 818 S. 2nd St., Minneapolis $22-$30 For tickets and more information, call 612.377.2224 or visit online.