HOLOSCENES: Spectacle, Climate Change, and Experimental Plumbing
created by Early Morning Opera
conceived and directed by Lars Jan
produced by Mapp International Productions
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For nearly four years, together with an expansive team of artists, engineers and scientists, I have been developing HOLOSCENES, a large performance installation that is a visceral, visual, and publiccollision of the human body and water. HOLOSCENES is born from my concern that our troubled relationship to water will become the central issue of the 21st century.
Sited in public space, HOLOSCENES features a totemic aquarium-like sculpture inhabited by a rotating series of performers carrying out an everyday human behavior gathered from video submissions from around the world. Filled and drained by a custom-designed hydraulic system, the aquariums flood with up to twelve tons of water a minute, transforming the movements of the performers within.
We’re using the aquarium of HOLOSCENES to weave the unraveling 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 resulting transfiguration of human behavior offers an elemental portrait of our collective myopia, persistence, and, for better or worse, adaptation.
— Lars Jan, October 2014
Civilization has evolved primarily within the geologic epoch of the Holocene, the period since the last ice age approximately twelve thousand years ago. However, there is debate as to whether we have already entered the Anthropocene — an epoch initiated by the industrial revolution and characterized by man’s impact on the earth over these dozen decades at a scale previously measured only in the thousands of years. The projected rise of sea level is central to this dramatic shift in the biosphere, foreshadowed by receding glaciers, melting polar ice caps, and the countless catastrophic floods of recent memory.
The development of HOLOSCENES has been informed by a broad spectrum of issues critical to a consideration of climate change, including those surrounding water; climate data, paleontology, and modeling; and the social and cognitive evolution of human capacities for decision-making, long-term thinking, and empathy.
HOLOSCENES is co-commissioned by the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
HOLOSCENES has received generous support from the Surdna Foundation, The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The MAP Fund (a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), Awesome Without Borders, the Panta Rhea Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and many individual donors.
Additional research and critical residency support has been provided by Scotiabank Nuit Blanche (Toronto), the Experimental Media Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) (Troy, NY), and the Center for the Art of Performance (CAP) UCLA (Los Angeles, CA).
LARS JAN is a director, writer, and artist. He is the founding artistic director of Early Morning Opera (EMO), a genre-bending performance + art lab, whose works explore emerging technologies, live audiences, and unclassifiable experience. His work has been presented by The Sundance Film Festival, Whitney Museum, Guggenheim Museum, and BAM Next Wave Festival, and supported by the NEA, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Surda Foundation, MAP Fund, and many others. He is a TED Senior Fellow.