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Nora Chipaumire
Dec. 5 — Dec. 5, 2014

The Art of Transformation: Performance / Little Haiti Cultural Center
Miami, FL
Holoscences (photo: Sue Holland and Eugene Kim)^497 Creative Residency for Lars Jan's Holoscenes^497 Geoff Sobelle (performer) in Holoscenes tank. Image: Lars Jan^497 Lars Jan/Early Morning Opera's A SUICIDE BOMBING BY INVITATION ONLY. Photo courtesy the artist.^497 Creative Residency for Lars Jan's Holoscenes^497 Holoscences (photo: Sue Holland and Eugene Kim)^497 Annie Saunders (performer) in Holoscenes tank. Image: Lars Jan^497

Lars Jan/Early Morning Opera

“I’m using the aquarium of Holoscenes to weave the unravelling story of water – the rising seas, melting glaciers, intensifying floods and droughts, into the patterns of the everyday. The ebb and flow of water and the resulting transfiguration of human behavior offers an elemental portrait of our collective myopia, persistence and, for better or worse, adaptation.”  -Lars Jan
Holoscenes is a large-scale installation/performance that manifests states of flooding in multiple mundane scenarios to viscerally portray the relationship between climate change and everyday human behaviors.  These vignettes – or “holo-scenes” – are intended to spark personal reflection and public dialog about our species’ capacity for empathy and for long-term thinking, specifically in relation to our changing environment.

The inspiration for Holoscenes is a photograph seen by Lars Jan in 2010.  Taken in northwestern Pakistan in the aftermath of devastating floods, the image shows a group of men struggling through neck high water and white caps, created by churning helicopter blades above, to reach broken, sinking aid packages.  Through his research about this flood, and aware of the growing frequency of such catastrophes worldwide, Jan became convinced that our troubled relationship to water will be the central issue of the 21st century, and the concept for a bold artistic expression of this theme was borne.  

In Holoscenes, an elevator-sized, acrylic aquarium is inhabited by a single performer enacting a choreographed, everyday behavior.  Powered by a custom-made hydraulic system, water in the aquarium rises and falls as the performer strives to continue – swimming to the top for air, diving down, adapting their behavior to the new environment.  Performers rotate in and out of the tank over the duration of the performance, as wireless headsets provide aural access to aquarium interior via hydrophones, intimately linking performer and listener.

The everyday behaviors in Holoscenes are being curated through a global, open-call for video submissions, which has generated 50 activities from nearly 30 countries, such as preparing ramen (Japan), picking grapes (St. Croix), and repairing fishing nets (Rwanda).  The performers reenact choreographed versions of these behaviors in the aquarium, wearing pedestrian clothing (specifically designed for immersion in water) and handling iconic objects – a hose, a telephone, chopsticks – while adapting to their repeatedly flooding environment.  

Holoscenes is scheduled to premiere in October 2014 at Nuit Blanche Festival, Toronto, with subsequent installations in 2015 at Ringling Museum, Sarasota (spring), and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (fall).