Diplomacy in the doghouse: Dachshund UN

I am a fully grown adult. At 24 years of age, I read heavy books, pay taxes, drink whiskey and, when called upon, can grow a very serious beard. Even so, I have absolutely no immunity to wiener dogs. I find them highly adorable. In their presence, my insides go all fluttery. I make noises along the lines of squeeeee and g’awww. And it turns out that, in this respect, I am not alone.

Dachshund UN, a performance art installation featuring several dozen wiener dogs of the cutest kind, was showing this past weekend at The Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage. And with little more than the promise of sweet little puppy punims, it drew hundreds of hopeful dachshund lovers out of their homes and into frigid waterfront theatre lineups.manuel_1

The installation is a set done up to look like a miniature United Nations Commission on Human Rights, including long rows of desks adorned with national nameplates. All the UN ambassadors are dachshunds and for 50 minutes the little wieners are left to their own devices.

Bennett Miller, the installation’s Australian creator, means for Dachshund UN to “questio[n] our capacity to… achieve a universal system of justice.”

To me, the recipient of a BA in Political Science, Dachshund UN seemed like a pretty honest rendition of UN procedure. Some of the delegates barked at each other. Others got dangerously close to causing a sex scandal. One seemed mainly interested in the photographers’ attention. The United States’ delegate remained aloof and uninvolved. Sweden tried to eat his nameplate.

Whether or not they truly appreciated the nuanced send-up of international diplomacy, the audience members, myself included, were kept busy mooning over the cast. Dachshund UN is a travelling exhibit, and this iteration was only the first stop of its North American tour. I’d bet dollars to dachshunds it made groupies out of more than a few of us.