At this year’s Art Basel Miami, Lars Jan created the Holoscenes exhibit regarding climate change. It consists of a 3,500-gallon Plexiglas tank that slowly fills with water with a women inside. Twelve tons of water are pumped into the tank over the course of a minute. The woman is holding a basket of persimmons, until it floats out of her hands, spilling the fruits to bob and twirl in the water. She tries to gather them back up, her skirts floating around her. Behind her, palm trees are silhouetted against the sky, and a crowd gathers.
The artists in the tank aren’t told when the waters will rise or recede — a pretty direct translation of the very real uncertainty of climate change — but they carry on with their tasks just the same: coiling a hose, playing a guitar, getting dressed. The lack of reaction speaks to a human resilience in the face of catastrophic change, Jan says. It also seems like a pretty apt dramatization of our ability to ignore disaster even as it unfolds around us.