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Performance artists take over old Pfizer plant

Art part at the old Pfizer plant

for The Brooklyn Paper

Being surrounded by lab coats isn’t how you want to end your night out — but it’s exactly how this party’s getting started.

Volunteer research assistants and professors holding doctorates in getting down are preparing for “Laboratory,” a massive, all-night art and performance extravaganza taking up three floors of the Pfizer building. At 60,000 square feet, with a legal capacity of 3,100 people, the venue at the former pharmaceutical headquarters in South Williamsburg has party organizers confident they can draw a crowd — and hopefully a community of artists.

And at the Pfizer plant, they seem to have found a willing partner.

Acumen Capital, who bought the building in 2011, are making a conscious attempt to cultivate creative businesses in their space, said DUMBO-based event planner Kevin Balktick, who with Mark Winkel is orchestrating the giant science-themed party on Sept. 1.

“Obviously, when you buy a building of that size, you’re in it for the long haul, and you have to think about developing an entire neighborhood, developing the entire community,” Balktick said.

The largeness of the space also means there’ll be plenty for party-goers to see.

Among the attractions at “Laboratory” are more than 35 immersive art installations, performances by Brooklyn classics Lady Circus and Gowanus Circus, and a cabaret stage with four live bands. High above the dance floor in another area, four DJs including cult-dance favorites “Mr. Saturday Night,” and Bunker resident Mike Servito will spin long-form dance sets.

“We’re not doing an art-party where you can go and sit in a chair and watch a performance — it’s an experience,” said Winkel. “You can be there for seven, eight hours, and not get bored.”

A small army of stilt-walkers clad in custom-length lab coats will patrol the space. Aerialists will make ample use of sky-high ceilings, which once housed heavy-duty chemical mixers, pill presses, and packaging lines for drugs with household-name familiarity.

As a security guard at the Pfizer building said, pointing to the ceiling, “Viagra was invented in a laboratory right up there.”

“Laboratory” at the old Pfizer plant (630 Flushing Ave. between Marcy and Tompkins avenues, www.wandbevents.com). Sept. 1, 10 PM–5 AM. tickets start at $26.

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