Artist Nadim Abbas’ apocalyptic bunker, 17 floors above Hong Kong

Piles of rice bags covered with silhouettes of hot pink weevils.  Cocktails resembling lab experiments.  Sci-fi music.  Crude animations.  Waitstaff milling around in white coats.

These are just a few elements in the latest installment of the Absolut Art Bar, now a fixture at all three Art Basel stops.  For the second edition of Art Basel Hong Kong, local artist Nadim Abbas converted the 17th floor of the Soundwill Plaza II into a bunker – its hint to the outside world in some sections revealing mere glimpses of skyscrapers.  Titled Apocalypse Postponed, the interactive exhibit runs from May 13 to 17 with a slate of rotating musical guests between 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. each evening.

“We took the essence of the bunker…and applied it to the space,” Abbas said at a press preview of the bar on May 12.  “The walls itself serve as a kind of barrier protecting the audience from the outside.”

To achieve his vision of an apocalyptic world – which showcases touches of humor throughout – Abbas created the Art Bar from scratch, with a previously open space largely relying on natural light from panoramic windows converted into a more claustrophobic, closed-off shelter.  A small stage set in the middle provides a venue for musicians to perform, the sound traveling through hidden speakers in the ceiling.  While wandering through the rooms separated by rice bags depicting war rations, guests can sip four different types of Absolut mixed drinks, including Ca+ (which includes a calcium tablet and a ginger pipet) and 2666: A Space Cocktail (a mixture of vodka, pomegranate, beetroot, orange, lemon, ginseng tea and absinthe in a space vacuum pack).

“The scale was very overwhelming,” Abbas said of the collision of art, music, animation, beverages and fashion.  “The scale allowed me the chance to bring a lot of people in and to experiment with different kinds of disciplines.”  These included a lineup of local talent, such as the menswear label Moustache, who designed the Winston Churchill-inspired siren suits worn by the performance artists; award-winning animator Wong Ping; and architecture firm LAAB.

“The apocalypse is always something that is looming,” Abbas added.  “We all die.  There is violence in the world.  I was also fascinated with this constant consumption of end-of-world narratives that we have in movies or popular culture.

“It kind of struck me to call this project Apocalypse Postponed – it’s a little play on the idea of a post-apocalyptic situation.  But instead of it being post-apocalyptic, it’s postponed.”

For more information about Apocalypse Postponed, go to


Photos: Nadim Abbas – Apocalypse Postponed ABSOLUT Art Bar – Art Basel Hong Kong 2014
all photos by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine


Video: Nadim Abbas – Apocalypse Postponed ABSOLUT Art Bar – Art Basel Hong Kong 2014
video by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine

Video: Musical performance – Nadim Abbas’ Apocalypse Postponed ABSOLUT Art Bar – Art Basel Hong Kong 2014
video by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine