The Ca d’Zan had survived years of salt water heavy air, decades of manmade neglect and thousands of visitors pounding its marble pavement with footsteps every day. It seemed like the mansion would remain perched on Sarasota Bay just as John and Mable Ringling had left it for generations further.
By 2050 though, the waters proved to be too much. The massive waves during increasingly violence storms were first-- breaking windows and turning back countless hours of restoration work. But when the bay began to reclaim the land that the mansion had called home for more than a century, it became too much for John Ringling’s former winter residence. And the state of Florida’s own water problems meant that there would be no hope for a second renaissance…
This potential (and fictional we hope) future might be difficult to envision, but the final performance of New Stages 2015 this March will assist in creating a visceral way to experience climate change, rising waters and Florida’s future.
The project is Lars Jan’s “Holoscenes,” which will make its Florida debut at The Ringling March 25-29. “Holoscenes” is a public performance and series of multi-platform artworks that feature performers in tanks completing everyday acts as their surroundings fill with water. Jan describes the project as a way to connect the everyday actions of individuals to global climate change through watching the aquarium flood, drain and repeat, while interrupting the people inside.
“Art can make people feel climate change in their gut, rather than just understand it,” Jan says.
The location of the project was significant for the artist as The Ringling’s location on Sarasota Bay near the Gulf of Mexico is threatened by rising water levels with some predictions that the area near the Ca’ d’Zan where “Holoscenes” will be presented will be underwater in only a few decades.
The project was significant enough for Dwight Currie, curator of performance at The Ringling to figure out the logistics necessary to bring the tank as well as the pumps, generators and all the other items necessary to bring this literally massive project together.
“Holoscenes” displays the versatility of the New Stages series, which is traditionally held in the 275-seat Historic Asolo Theater. This is Currie’s fourth season of New Stages, which brings contemporary performance art for audiences to engage with in the beginning of every year. And engaging is important to Currie because that is the point of performance art.
Check back next Thursday as we look further at Florida's rising water problems.