TED Fellows » TED Fellows Network » Lars Jan

Lars Jan

Transmedia Director

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Lars Jan

Professional Role

Current Titles:

Director, Multimedia Artist, Writer, Designer

Current Organizations:

Early Morning Opera, TED, Sundance, CalArts, Harlem Stage, Mapp International, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation


Uploaded Photos

Flickr Photostream


HOLOSCENES — 5 min. excerpt — Lars Jan

HOLOSCENES is a suite of multi-format artworks inspired by flooding. The name of the project is a play on our current geological epoch, the Holocene. This video was captured during our prototype residency for the project in July 2013 at The Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC; Troy, NY). HOLOSCENES will premiere its various iterations — performance, installation, photography, print — beginning in 2014 at Nuit Blanche (Toronto) and culminating in 2015 at The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco). More on the project at http://www.holoscen.es

Created by Early Morning Opera (www.EarlyMorningOpera.com)
Conceived + Directed by Lars Jan
Produced by Mapp International Productions (http://www.mappinternational.org/artists/view/497/)

Performed by Annie Saunders and Geoff Sobelle

Choreographed by Geoff Sobelle
Show Control + Lighting Design by Pablo N. Molina
Sound Design by Nathan Ruyle
Costume Design by Irina Kruzhilina
Social Choreography by Blaine O'Neill
Hydraulic Design by Larry McDonald
Project Management by Jenna Didier

Residency + Production support provided by EMPAC
Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.

Additional support from a 2011 MAP Fund award, Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, Panta Rhea Foundation, Positive Feedback USA, the National Endowment for the Arts, and many individual donors.

View video on Vimeo »

ABACUS (Sundance + Redcat version) Trailer

ABACUS in Los Angeles / Fall 2013 @ The Live Arts Exchange Festival
Sept. 25 - Oct. 3
Details & Tickets: http://LiveArtsExchange.org/abacus-3/

Created and Produced by Early Morning Opera (www.EarlyMorningOpera.com)
Presented by Live Arts Exchange in Los Angeles / September 25 - October 3, 2013

An EMPAC Commission
Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY

For more ABACUS related videos: www.VisualAnimals.com

Director + Writer: Lars Jan
Performer: Sonny Valicenti
Video, Scenic & Software Designer: Pablo N. Molina
Visualization Software & Data Narrative Designers: James N. Sears and Jonathan Cousins
Composer, Sound & Software Designer: Nathan Ruyle
Lighting Designer & Logistics: Christopher Kuhl
Steadicam Operators: Nicholas Konow and John Luna
Associate Producer: Miranda Wright
Public Choreographer & Logistics: Blaine O'Neill
Documentarian & Panda Wrangler: Luke Norby
Printed Design: Thirst

ABACUS was originally commissioned by the Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), and performed at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and REDCAT. This work was developed with the support of Thea Duell, 24th Street Theatre (Los Angeles), legions of Kickstarter backers, and The Tiffen Company, makers of the Steadicam camera stabilizing systems.

Special thanks to Mark Murphy, George Lugg, Diana Wyenn, Bill Ballou, Eric Nolfo, Ian Burch, Edgar Miramontes and the entire REDCAT staff. And, to Herbert Allen, Mia Barron, Carrie Beck, Mary Pat Bentel, Kate Bishop, Rick Booth, Katelan Braymer, Jess Christiansen, Matthew Connolly, John Cooper and Sundance, Mike Craigs, Daniel Desure and Commonwealth Projects, Debbie Devine, Xander Duell, Kathleen Forde, Sarah Friedman, Shari Frilot, Elena Gageanu, Jesse Gilbert, Jon Gottlieb and JonSound, Will Green, David Allen Grove, Chris Hampton, John Hankammer, Sean Hove, Dan Ikeda, Rolin Jones, Wilson Kello, Ben Kellogg, Alexandra Kustin, Tom Leeser and the Center for Integrated Media at CalArts, Sam Littlefield, Jesse Marshall, Rebekah May, Jay McAdams, Dylan Metzger, Luke Norby, Blaine O’Neill, Ellie O’Neill, John Pobojewski, Travis Preston, Alex Robinson, Bud Rodecker, Jonathan Marc Sherman, Dee Sherwood, Steve Tiffen, Rick Valicenti, Tatianna Williams, Garrett Wolf, Liz Ziegler, the Center for Cultural Innovation, The MacDowell Colony, the folks at Kickstarter, and the TED Fellows program.

View video on Vimeo »


01/01/2012 – 10/31/2013
HOLOSCENES is a hybrid of performance, visual installation and public spectacle responding to our urgently evolving relationship to water and global climate cataclysm. From inside three jumbo, hydraulically-animated aquariums, a rotating cast of performers gazes outward, repeatedly enacting their everyday ‘rituals’ gathered from around the globe, as water fills and empties from each tank. Water pushes the performers to the top of the aquariums where they attempt to conduct their rituals in a modified form; as it drains, the performers continue, soaked by these mini-floods. HOLOSCENES is driven by my concern that our troubled relationship to water will become the central issue of the 21st century. I am referencing and repurposing the “popular entertainments” of 24-hour media disaster coverage and American aquatic spectacle (from Busby Berkeley to the Bellagio) in order to provoke conversation around our relationship to deluge, and to long-term challenges. In HOLOSCENES, I intend for the ebb and flow of water and the resulting modified behaviors to conjure mythic, historical, and coming environmental tragedies, and — through repetition — to gain a poetry of motion, becoming complex portraits of adaptation, myopia, and persistence. HOLOSCENES is currently seeking co-commissioning support and is being produced by MAPP International Productions.
Project Website »

05/01/2009 – present
ABACUS is a baroque presentation delivered by Paul Abacus about the future of national borders, the workings of contemporary persuasion, and our evolving relationship to the screens in our public and private spaces, not to mention our pockets. In style, the presentation assumes a TED-talk fused with the grand gestures of megachurch media design, all while utilizing emerging technologies and stunning visual effects.
Project Website »


LARS JAN is a director, designer, writer, and media artist. He is the artistic director of Early Morning Opera, a multi-disciplinary art lab based in Los Angeles that specializes in live performance. Lars has made genre-bending artworks about TED talks, suicide bombers, Laika the Soviet space dog, land art, a downed fighter pilot, and the impossibility of outsiders ever knowing the relationship that two people have together. He has created an image-ballet with two Steadicam operators, choreographed seven women in burqas, and wrangled one giant panda with iPads for paws. Lars studied Bunraku-style puppetry outside Kyoto for a year and taught physical performance at Kabul University’s fledgling theatre department. As a Princeton Atelier Fellow, he recorded elder women in rural Ukraine singing in a vanishing polyphonic style. His original performance and installation works have been seen at The Whitney Museum of American Art (NYC), Sundance Film Festival (UT), Symphony Space (NYC), PianoSpheres (LA), REDCAT (LA), The Kirk Douglas Theatre (LA), and The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival. Recently he has created new work while a resident fellow at The MacDowell Colony, EMPAC, The Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Princeton University’s Atelier Program, and Kabul University. Lars is the recipient of the 2008 Sherwood Award, granted by Center Theatre Group to an innovative theatre artist in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Swarthmore College and CalArts. His new performance installation HOLOSCENES — a triptych of massive aquariums inhabited by performers — explores the evolution of human endurance and habitual behavior in the context of natural catastrophe, particularly through the lens of mythic, contemporary and coming deluge. www.EarlyMorningOpera.com

Fun facts

Favorite meal:
Otoro Unagi Uni

Vital Stats

Fellows Class
TEDGlobal 2011
2013 TED Senior Fellow
Living in
Los Angeles, United States
Working in
Los Angeles, United States
Born in
Cambridge, United States