Holoscenes is a public art and performance installation that is a visual response to climate change. It’s centered around three people-sized aquariums that flood and drain and re-flood using powerful hydraulics that move 12 tons of water per minute.
Inside each aquarium is a performer acting out everyday behavior, soon rendered impossible by the deluge. It’s performance art that viscerally connects the long-term patterns of climate change to our everyday lives. Lars Jan of art lab Early Morning Opera has worked for three years with a team of scientists, artists and engineers (including experts from Columbia University’s Earth Institute) to bring the concept to reality. The aquarium’s scale presents enormous challenges in terms of safety systems and procedures; testing the behavior of a mass quantity of rushing water and proving associated power requirements requires a fully functional aquarium.
Jan is hoping that his crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter will raise necessary funds to complete the first glass box. He raised enough money to cover design and development, and half the cost needed for construction. Now he must raise another $41,000 to complete fabrication, or the project will miss it’s October debut at the Toronto Nuit Blanche Festival, an all-night festival that is one of the largest art events in North America.
If all goes to plan, it next moves to Sarasota, Florida (a Gulf-side city predicted to be underwater in 20 years) for a stint at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in March 2015.
Exhibitions with institutions in other cities are under discussion. Hopefully it also heads to Casablanca, Tunis and Alexandria before those cities succumb to the sea.
Jan, a 2013 TED fellow, believes that our relationship to water will become the central issue of the 21st century, and maintains that “art can be a powerful vehicle for communicating the complex phenomenon of climate change to a broad audience”.
The project has powerhouse support, with grants from the US National Endowment of the Arts, awards from the Rockefeller MAP Fund, New York State Council on the Arts, Panta Rhea Foundation, Awesome Without Borders, and individual donors.
Want to jump into Jan’s pool of supporters? Kickstarter donors can receive T-shirts, postcards, limited edition prints of the project or a recorded “harmonic chant of gratitude” – see link here for details. Follow its progress on the Facebook or Twitter sites for Early Morning Opera.
All images from Early Morning Opera.