Two rockers have a vision of the future of music — and there aren’t any guitars.
In a warehouse-cum-gallery in the industrial wasteland of Bushwick, sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson of the cult rock band Prince Rama have built what they call a post-Apocalyptic Guitar Center store — a riff on the chain of musical instrument shops.
Perhaps the retailer of Gibsons and Yamahas will survive the end of days, but the stringed instruments that gave rock its sound are nowhere to be found inside the exhibit.
“You go in there and it’s almost like a post-instrument Guitar Center,” said Taraka, whose show is open through Feb. 28. “It’s all just kind of replicas — simulacrums of instruments.”
To make up for the lack of instruments, the exhibit’s walls are covered in Mylar and Guitar Center catalogues from the ’90s, and the sisters hung trees from the ceiling, as a sign of the outside world creeping in.
The guitar-less Guitar Center is a response to the digitization of music, Taraka said — the very present-day reality of bands making songs on their computer, uploading them to the internet, and waiting for fans to download them to their iPhones.
“[Guitar Center] kind of feels post-apocalyptic when you walk in there already,” she said. “It feels part of a time that’s come past.”
Guitars are what make the real-life instrument store a kind of utopian vision of rock music, said Taraka. At the shopping mall staple, would-be indie stars can play an expensive Les Paul through a $2,500 amp, she said — even if they can only afford a cheap Fender.
“You can be the star of your own show there,” she said.
It’s a feeling she’s trying to simulate — in a world with no instruments.
“I kind of look at Guitar Center as this ritual space for people to come and become part of this ongoing rock ’n’ roll mythology,” said Taraka.
Post-Apocalyptic Guitar Center at Secret Project Robot (389 Melrose St. between Irving and Knickerbocker avenues in Bushwick, www.secretprojectrobot.org). Show ends Feb. 28. Free.
Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.