NOBODY’S got it right yet, but that hasn’t stopped some devotees of doom predicting that the world is due to end tomorrow.
Commendably – they could have just gone to the pub or hidden under their desks with bags over their heads – the folk at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art are marking the occasion with a Festival of the Apocalypse.
It takes place on Friday and Saturday, which can be interpreted either as supreme scepticism or hopeless optimism.
Actually, it’s probably more the latter (perhaps without the ‘hopeless’).
The Festival of the Apocalypse is the idea of Berwick-based but internationally renowned artists Zoë Walker and Neil Bromwich, and it is the climax of their exhibition The Encampment of Eternal Hope which is currently displayed at Baltic.
It’s a jolly affair, this encampment of wobbly, inflated tent-like structures, reminding me of something from a children’s TV programme. In the Night Garden, perhaps?
Those who predict eternal night before we hit the weekend are inspired by something called the Mayan long count calendar, which began in 3114BC but ends abruptly on December 21, 2012.
The Mayan culture, I’m told, flourished in Central America in the years 250-900AD.
Some experts, keen to portray the Mayans in a less mournful light, have rubbished the apocalypse theories, saying there is no evidence for them and that they misrepresent the long count calendar.
Perhaps the Mayans ran out of parchment. Or maybe they just got bored with writing all the numbers down. But perhaps it doesn’t do to be flippant.
In some places in the world they take this kind of stuff seriously. In America, for instance, where there seems to be someone crazy enough for every eventuality.
Anyway, the two-day Baltic celebration begins tomorrow with Apocalyptic Day (Death of the Sun) which takes place on Level 2 from 1.30-3pm.
There will be a talk by David Korowicz called The Twilight of the Age of Growth, which sounds like one of Chancellor George Osborne’s nightmares.
Korowicz is described as a physicist and human systems ecologist. He is the author of a book called Tipping Point: Near-Term Systemic Implications of a Peak in Global Oil Production.
After his talk, examining how vulnerable we are to change and uncertainty, there will be a discussion.
And after that, musician John Kenny will play instruments including the carnyx and the conch to signal the setting of the sun.
Then on Saturday, assuming we’re all still here, the sunrise will be celebrated at 8.03am in Baltic Square to herald New Dawn Day (Rebirth of the Sun). Meanwhile those of a nihilistic nature will have to find yet another date for their dire prophesies.
In the unlikely event of them being proved right, at least they won’t be around to say: “We told you so.”