Director, Multimedia Artist, Writer, Designer
Early Morning Opera, TED, Sundance, CalArts, Harlem Stage, Mapp International, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
Official Selection of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival
January 19 - 29, 2012 (Park City, UT)
Created and Produced by EARLY MORNING OPERA (www.EarlyMorningOpera.com)
An EMPAC Commission
Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
ABACUS is a genre-bending multimedia event created by Early Morning Opera, under the direction of Lars Jan, and featuring Japanese cult icon Paul Abacus. In a blistering 50 minutes, ABACUS constructs a riveting argument for the obsolescence of national borders while simultaneously dissecting two dominant forms of contemporary persuasion: the TED-style (slide-based) presentation and mega-church media design.
Abacus leverages stunning data visualizations, generated in real-time by our internationally renowned team of designers, to catapult his empirical observations into metaphysical territory. A highly choreographed chorus of Steadicam operators transmits wireless streams of video that are then mixed live onto the cinematic screen. Fueled by our content-saturated, data-driven, personality-obsessed moment, ABACUS explodes the presentation format that has become the lingua franca of our screen-based culture.
Paul Abacus / as himself
Lars Jan / Director of Communications
Sonny Valicenti / Broadcast Specialist
Pablo N. Molina / Scenic & Video Design
James N. Sears & Jonathan Cousins / Data Visualizations & Software
Nathan Ruyle / Original Composition & Sound Design
Chris Kuhl / Lighting Design & Logistics
Nick Konow & John Luna / Steadicam Operators
Elena Gageanu / Panda Wrangler
Thanks to REDCAT, CalArts, Travis Preston, and The MacDowell Colony. Special Thanks to Kathleen Forde, everyone at EMPAC, Bill Ballou, and Garrett Brown.
Follow Paul Abacus on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/paulabacus
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
Otoro Unagi Uni