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Hypnotheraphy: The Last Cigarette Before the End of the World

Year: 2019/2023

Medium: Hypnosis/Performance

Duration: Around 23 minutes


The technique of collaboration with participants is essential in Mel Chan’s practice. In this performance, by borrowing hypnotherapy techniques, guided participants to imagine smoking the last cigarette before the end of the world. Smoking, here, is more than a metaphor of the toxicity of relaxation. It is also a linkage between the past (cigarette’s function and position in colonial practice), present (the physical pleasure of smoking) and future (smoke as a symbol of disappearance/death). With hypnotherapy's promise of reaching the ‘trance stage’, where subconsciousness is supposed to be reached and altered, a new meaning has been given to this ‘trance’ -- it is a place for active contemplation on the hidden economy rather than an innocent ground of passive message absorption.


Together, the audiences imagine smoking one last cigarette before everything ends. They are guided to revisit the history of our death drive, take a glance of how toxins penetrate our physical existence, and, last but not least, how we are all connected through breathing.


Performance with Davide Ghelli Santuliana at Galerie Franzis Engels, Amsterdam on Feb 2023.

The Audio Version

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