ABACUS is a large-scale multimedia presentation inspired in part by Buckminster Fuller’s Geoscope (a planned data visualization device that would comprehensively model the Earth’s “vital statistics,” historic patterns, and future projections) and by two dominant forms of persuasive discourse today: TED-style presentations and megachurch media design. ABACUS features a charismatic lecturer, Paul Abacus, aided by the Geoscope and a chorus of Steadicam operators, who argues the obsolescence of national borders and proposes their dissolution. ABACUS serves as an interrogation of the art of persuasion as a catalyst for cultural evolution, examining the moment that data—distilled, visualized, spun—yields a visceral, rather than merely conceptual, impact.
At EMPAC, Director Lars Jan and his team of designers and programmers worked on creating their Geoscope, an array of curved projection surfaces which displays visuals generated from archived and real-time geographical, environmental, and financial data culled from governmental agencies and public datasets on the Internet. Additional residencies developed the integration of two Steadicam operators and live imagery into the piece.
Lars Jan is a director, designer, writer, and media artist. His performance and film works have been seen at Symphony Space (NYC), REDCAT (LA), the Venice Architectural Biennale, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Philadelphia Live Arts & Fringe Festival, and the Whitney Museum of American Art (NYC).