This event at SXSW Interactive promotes the CW’s Containment with a dramatic presentation and free alcohol
The people in the box are writhing on hospital cots. Bloody handprints are streaked across the glass that separate them from the crowd. The clock has stopped. People in hazmat suits are roaming around looking for the infected. People in lab coats are working on the cure. A man stands guard at the ” cordon sanitaire,” the barrier that separates this scene from the rest of the bar.
It’s all a performance. This is an event to promote the CW’s new show Containment. Based on the Belgian series Cordon, Containment is a miniseries event about a virus that enters Atlanta, forcing the area to be put under quarantine by federal authorities. The show premieres on April 19, 2016.
This is the middle of SXSW Interactive, and extravagant promotional events are to be expected here. This particular event is happening on Rainy Street, a yuppie-cool street made of bars that used to be houses. The CW has transformed a part of Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden into this promotional event.
There is a man standing guard at the gate. His face stays stuck in a glare that remains even when he is posing for pictures with the amused guests. Standing behind the guard, is the man keeping count of capacity. He makes the actual decisions around here.
People in lab coats are roaming around. They offer “the cure” in the form of syringe-shaped shots. They dispense the shots into the mouths of willing participants and declare them cured. Over at the bar/lab there are more “cures.” A fruity-but -mellow mixed punch drink is served by the glass and declared to have curative properties. Reviews say the cure is quite tasty. Screens behind the bar show a PSA from CW’s Containment, and it adds a certain layer of drama to the “lab” area.
People are gathered around wooden benches appreciating the complimentary “cures” and general ambiance. Every once in a while, people in hazmat suits drag along an “infected” they are pale and weak. They are moved behind a metal fence. They are placed in containment.
The area of containment has clear walls. They are streaked with the bloody handprints of the people that lie prone in the cots. They moan and roll over. The lights flicker on and off as the recently-infected are contained with the others.
On the next day of the event, things have progressed further. The people are paler and sicker. The walls are more streaked with blood. The lights flicker on and off with more frequency. The infected are weaker, staying on their cots, curled and suffering.
Meanwhile on the benches, people continue to casually sip various cures. Many selfies are taken, the event is a perfect SXSW photo opp. The event hits capacity and those lucky enough to be in the quarantine gaze with a certain superiority at the masses below, outside the ” cordon sanitaire.”
People in lab coats hand out drinks, people behind plastic wall pretend to be gravely ill, as attendees take selfies. This is South by Southwest Interactive, at its most interactive.