Presentation / “A Counterfeit Utopia,” with Robert Antoni

Date: Friday, 4 April 2014, 7–9 pm
Location: Cabinet, 300 Nevins Street, Brooklyn (map and directions here)
FREE. No RSVP necessary

Listen to an audio recording of this program, or download the file by right-clicking here and selecting "Save link as..."

Robert Antoni’s historical novel As Flies to Whatless Boys (Akashic Books, 2013) documents his family’s journey from London to Trinidad in 1845 as part of the Tropical Emigration Society, a utopian experiment led by the German inventor John Adolphus Etzler. By turns engineer, visionary, and boldfaced charlatan, Etzler claimed to have invented machines, powered by the immense forces of Mother Nature, that would transform the tropics into an English garden virtually overnight. A historical account by Antoni of Etzler’s extraordinary endeavor and the fate of his Tropical Emigration Society is available in Cabinet no. 51. Antoni’s multimedia presentation at the Cabinet event space will weave a variety of real, manipulated, and fabricated documents: the patents and mechanical drawings for Etzler’s machines; and personal notebooks, maps, letters, and films.

Robert Antoni is the author of five books, including the landmark novel Divina Trace, for which he received a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and an NEA grant. He was a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow and recently received the NALIS Lifetime Literary Award from the Trinidad & Tobago National Library. He lives in Manhattan and teaches in the graduate writing program at the New School.

Beer for this event has been lovingly provided by Brooklyn Brewery. Additionally, Antoni will oversee the production of a special batch of rum punch, which will be served with Trinidadian “doubles.”

Cabinet is published by Immaterial Incorporated, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Cabinet receives generous support from the Lambent Foundation, the Orphiflamme Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Opaline Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Danielson Foundation, the Katchadourian Family Foundation, The Edward C. Wilson and Hesu Coue Wilson Family Fund, and many individuals. All our events are free, the entire content of our many sold-out issues are on our site for free, and we offer our magazine and books at prices that are considerably below cost. Please consider supporting our work by making a tax-deductible donation by visiting here. Thank you for your consideration.