Art Basel

Art Basel: Miami Dade College exhibit provokes thought on sea-level rise

Video: Holoscenes at Art Basel

Holoscenes is an installation/performance art at Miami Dade College downtown campus plaza that has four performers doing daily chores and actions in an elevator-sized tank that fills and empties with water.
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Holoscenes is an installation/performance art at Miami Dade College downtown campus plaza that has four performers doing daily chores and actions in an elevator-sized tank that fills and empties with water.

As the Holoscenes installation did a dry — or maybe we should call it a wet — run at Miami Dade College's Wolfson campus on Tuesday afternoon, with performer Lua Shayenne spiraling like a mermaid in the work's giant tank of water, a woman passing by did a double take.

“That’s real?!’’ she asked. She’d mistaken Shayenne for some kind of virtual reality trick.

Given that Holoscenes, which sets four performers swimming through mundane activities — coiling a hose, gathering persimmons in a basket, playing the guitar — is a metaphor for how people greet sea level rise, the woman’s comment was apt. When Shayenne emerged from the tank, she talked about her own cycle of fear of and acceptance as she tried to gather her floating fruit into a basket.

“I feel frustration and anger at having my task disrupted,” she said. “I’m trying to put things in order. I think that's what we like to do as people, to do what we always do, to settle in our routine. When the water starts rising I definitely feel a sense of anxiety. But I do reach a sense of peace. You can’t do anything about it and it becomes your new normal.”

Provoking those kinds of thoughts about sea-level rise was exactly why MDC Live Arts executive director Kathryn Garcia brought Holoscenes to Miami, where it will be live from Wednesday to Saturday.

“The arts have a special way of providing people with a way to talk about things,” Garcia said. “You see people drowning and floating in water — it affects you in a visceral way.”

Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free

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