Lars Jan / Early Morning Opera

The World Science Festival

Presented with the World Science Festival as part of its 10th anniversary season and produced by MAPP International Productions. A visceral and visual performative collision of the human body and water, born of the concern that as global sea levels rise, flooding and drought will become the central issues of the 21st century.

Sited in public space, Holoscenes features a totemic aquarium-like sculpture filled and drained by a custom hydraulic system, capable of flooding the aquarium with twelve tons of water in as little as 45 seconds.

The flooding aquarium is inhabited by a rotating cast of performers conducting everyday behaviors — e.g. selling fruit, getting dressed, reading a paper, tuning a guitar — sourced from collaborators across the planet. The performance features four performers presenting seven choreographies, in shifts lasting 30 to 45 minutes each. Each performance runs five hours, generally spanning sunset.

Holoscenes weaves 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 both better and worse, adaptation.

Civilization has evolved primarily within the geologic epoch of the Holocene, the era since the last ice age approximately twelve thousand years ago. However, there is debate as to whether we have already entered the Anthropocene — a period initiated by the industrial revolution and characterized by man’s impact on the earth over these few 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. Research in these areas has been supported by a science advisory team and the arts/climate consortium PositiveFeedbackUSA.

Holoscenes premiered at Toronto Nuit Blanche in 2014 and has since been presented at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art on the Gulf of Mexico (2015), downtown during Art Basel Miami Beach (2015), central London during London’s Burning (2016), and on NYU Abu Dhabi campus (2016).


Visual Art Exhibition

Associated video installations and and two series of artworks by Lars Jan have been exhibited by the Pasadena Museum of California Art (2015), The Fowler Museum at UCLA (2016), and The Istanbul Modern (2016). Lars Jan is represented by Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles.

Creative Team

Conceived & Directed by Lars Jan
Choreographed by Geoff Sobelle
Performed by Makoto Hirano, Annie Saunders, Lua Shayenne & Geoff Sobelle
Show Control & Lighting Design by Pablo N. Molina
Sound Design by Nathan Ruyle & Mikaal Sulaiman
Costume Design by Irina Kruzhilina
Technical Direction by Eric Lin
Project Management by Christopher Pye
Company Management by Alexandria Yalj & Alexandra Shepherd
Hydraulic Design by Larry McDonald
Automation Design by Erich Bolton

Early Morning Opera (EMO) is a genre-bending performance and art lab whose works explore emerging technologies, live audiences, and unclassifiable experience, while reflecting artistic director Lars Jan’s background in progressive activism. Our works chart complex constellations of ideas through language and other media, and assert the vital function of live events in our increasingly screen-based world. Due to the aesthetic and formal diversity of our projects, we have been commissioned and presented by media centers, museums, galleries, theaters and film festivals across the U.S. and the world. www.EarlyMorningOpera.com

MAPP International Productions is a nonprofit producer of major performing arts projects that raise critical consciousness and spark social change. We support all phases of an artist's creative process, from concept and production to premiere and touring, while also engaging audiences in the issues behind the art. Through this heightened focus, we support an evolving and elite cadre of creators whose work ignites communities worldwide.

LARS JAN (director, creator) is a director, writer, visual artist, and founder of Early Morning Opera, a genre-bending performance + art lab whose works explore emerging technologies, live audiences, and unclassifiable experience. His works have been presented by The Whitney Museum, Sundance Film Festival, and BAM Next Wave Festival. As the winner of the 2017 Audemars Piguet Art Commission, Jan will exhibit an immersive installation during Art Basel Miami Beach in 2017. His performance based on Joan Didion’s essay The White Album has been commissioned by BAM and CTG, and will premier in Fall 2018. He is the son of émigrés from Afghanistan and Poland and a TED Senior Fellow.

GEOFF SOBELLE (choreographer, core performer) is an actor, creator and the co-artistic director of rainpan 43, a renegade absurdist outfit devoted to creating original actor-driven performance works. R43’s shows include: all wear bowlers (Innovative Theatre Award, Drama Desk nomination), Amnesia Curiosa, machines machines machines machines machines machines machines (OBIE award – design), and Elephant Room. His independent work includes Flesh and Blood & Fish and Fowl (Edinburgh Fringe First Award) and The Object Lesson (Bessie Award, Edinburgh Fringe First Award, Carol Tambor Award, Total Theatre Award, NYTimes Critics Pick). He was  a company member of Philadelphia’s Pig Iron Theatre Company from 2001-2012. www.geoffsobelle.com

ANNIE SAUNDERS (core performer) is a director, performer and collaborative live artist. Her company, Wilderness, has presented its immersive performance The Day Shall Declare It site-specifically in Los Angeles and London. The company has also presented work at REDCAT, the San Francisco Playhouse and the Getty Villa and created experiential commissions for Asics and Mastercard.

She has devised and performed original work with Neil Bettles (Frantic Assembly), the Lyric Hammersmith, Bush Theatre, Latitude Festival, Charing Cross Theatre, the Cafe de Paris, Queen Mary University, Boston Court Theatre, Son of Semele and Theatricum Botanicum. She trained at the University of London, the Sanford Meisner Center, and RADA. She spent ten years as a creative activist with Eve Ensler's V-Day, a global creative movement to end violence against women.

She is a core performer with Early Morning Opera, and in addition Holoscenes has appeared in The Institute of Memory (TIMe) and Abacus. She is an advanced recreational freediver. www.thisisthewilderness.com

LUA SHAYENNE (performer) is a 2016 and 2017 K.M. Hunter Dance and 2013 TELUS Newcomer artist award nominee and winner of Neighbourhood Arts Network 2013 BMO SEEDS FUND, Lua Shayenne’s dance practice is rooted in her African ancestry. Her company, Lua Shayenne Dance Company (LSDC), presents dance works that explores current subject matters with the aim to be a vehicle for spiritual and social progress. LSDC has presented five productions and was recently featured in Fall for Dance North at the Sony Centre. Lua recently performed in Brendan Fernandes’ (Us/Canada) In Touch, Lars Jan’s (NYC/LA) Holoscenes (Toronto/Florida/Miami/London,UK/Abu Dhabi tours) and Lemi Ponifasio’s (New Zealand) Apocalypsis - Luminato Festival . www.luashayenne.com

MAKOTO HIRANO (performer) is a Philadelphia-based dance and theatre artist. His award-winning ensemble and solo performance works have been presented across the nation through generous local, regional, and national support. As a collaborating performer, Hirano has co-created over 20 original productions, with highlights that include projects with Bill Irwin, Pig Iron Theatre Company, and Thaddeus Phillips/Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental. Hirano is a co-founder of critically acclaimed Team Sunshine Performance Corporation, makes art with his wife as Gatto + Hirano, and is a long-time facilitator with Philadelphia-based professional development program Artists U. A former-U.S. Marine, Hirano earned his BFA in dance at Temple University.

PABLO N. MOLINA (show control and lighting design) is a video, lighting and interactive installation artist whose work employs emerging technologies such as projection mapping, realtime processing and custom software to devise innovative and immersive media environments.

While his practice is firmly rooted in experimental performance, Pablo also works on permanent installations, large scale rock concerts, and commercial entertainment, such as the recent Paramore and Marvel Universe Live arena tours. He originated the video design for the Alex Timber directed musical Rocky in Hamburg Germany and collaborated with video designer Dan Scully on the Tony award winning Broadway production.

As a core member of Early Morning Opera, Pablo is responsible for the visual design and custom interactive software for ABACUS, Holoscenes, and The Institute of Memory (TIMe). He also collaborated with Nichole Canuso and Lars Jan on the development of TAKES and PANDÆMONIUM. Pablo helped establish the MFA specialization in Video for Performance at CalArts, where he served on the faculty for nine years.

IRINA KRUZHILINA (costumes)  is a New York-based costume designer for the performing arts. Her work has been shown all over the world, from the Brooklyn Academy of Music to the National Theatre in Prague, from Avery Fisher Hall to the Barbican Center in London, and from a floating barge in the East River to a lagoon at Disney World. Ms. Kruzhilina designed costumes for dozens of theatre, dance, opera, and puppetry performances, including with Doug Fitch, Lars Jan, Mabou Mines, David Chambers, Ruth Margraff, Else-Marie Lauvik, DNA works, and SCRAP performance group. Her work has appeared at the Philadelphia Live Arts, Spoleto Fringe and Toronto Nuit Blanche festivals. Recent highlights include Petrushka with the New York Philharmonic, a nighttime spectacular 'Rivers Of Light’ at the Disney Animal Kingdom and ‘Orpheo2‘ at the Salzburger Landestheater. A native of Moscow, Russia, Ms. Kruzhilina is dedicated to connecting Western and Eastern European theatre through international collaborations. As an educator, Ms. Kruzhilina developed the "Inside-Out" design method that she teaches at institutions throughout the world. She is a member of the International Theatre Institute and a Chashama resident.

NATHAN RUYLE (sound designer and engineer) is a Los Angeles based cross-disciplinary artist, designer, producer, educator and technologist. He is the founder and managing designer of “This is Sound Design”, a studio and consulting company that creates sound and develops technology for traditional and new media. Notable projects feature films It Felt Like Love and This is Martin Bonner which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Cloud Eye Control’s Multimedia Opera, Under Polaris, and many projects with Lars Jan/Early Morning Opera, including the sound, software, and music for ABACUS and The Institute of Memory (TIMe). Nathan has an MFA in Sound Design and Integrated Media from the California Institute of the Arts. www.tisd.tv

MIKAAL SULAIMAN (co-sound designer) is a sound designer/composer. He began his artistic career as an actor receiving his BFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and later studying the Jacque Lecoq approach to physical theatre at the London International School of Performing Arts under the tutelage of Thomas Prattki and Amy Russell. Post the Lecoq program, Mikaal began to work heavily with Pig Iron Theatre Co. as well as great directors such as Raelle Myrick-Hodges (Raisin in the Sun, Playmakers), Aaron Posner (The Tempest, The Folger), Rachel Chavkin (Mission Drift, Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Geoff Sobelle (Chicken, Live Arts Festival), among others. Mikaal has sound designed for notable companies such as Early Morning Opera (Holoscenes), The Foundry Theatre Co. (Master), Ars Nova (Underground Railroad Game), CalShakes (Fences), Pig Iron (Zero Cost House) among others. Currently residing in Los Angeles, he sound designs for film and advertising for companies such as The Weinstein Co., CBS, Hulu, College Humor, and others. salaam. www.mikaal.com

ERIC LIN (technical director) is a technician and production manager based in Minneapolis, MN, with a strong background managing projects which weave cutting edge technological platforms with the arts. With an MFA in Technical Design and Production from Yale University, Lin is currently an associate technical director and the Guthrie Theatre. He was formerly the the lead stage technician at EMPAC Rensselaer. It was at EMPAC, during Holoscenes’ production and technical residency in the summer of 2013, that Eric and Lars Jan met. Lin has also worked as a Production Manager and Technical Director for the Totem Pole Playhouse, the Yale Summer Cabaret and the Santa Fe Opera, among others.

Support for HOLOSCENES

Holoscenes is co-commissioned by the John & 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).

Photographs courtesy of Alan Winslow for Times Square Arts.