Truc HoARCTIC 391Following the United States government’s decision to withdraw from Paris climate agreement, Lars Jan, an LA based artist, built a glass tank fills with water to display at Time Square. Within the tank is a performer, which change every time the piece is displays, interacting with mundane items while floating about without worries. This haunting visual illustration center the Anthropocene, and how human influence over the Earth will bring forth devastating storms and rising seas. The piece can be read as human adapting their behavior to climate change, doing the best they can, or a portrayal of humanity’s sluggish response to climate change. Jan illustrates the data on crises related to water through the water movement, rising and falling in the tank according to Jan like a “moving bar graph”. According to the artist, “Some people learn visually and I want to allow those people to experience something first without trying to teach them something,”. Data on climate change exist, and is readily accessible. Yet in the face of climate change we remains sluggish with our actions. This illustrate that scientific facts is not enough. Bill McKibben writes in “What the Warming World Needs Now Is Art, Sweet Art,” that humanity is aware of climate change, but it is not in our culture yet. We need to engage with the changing climate through our imagination, by translating cold scientific facts into what invoke human emotions. “The Holocene” portray a tangible connection between the individuals and global climate change. As I look at this piece, I’m reminded of how rising sea levels is threatening my home country, Vietnam. The lack of urgency in the performer action reminds me of the acceptance that the country will be submerged underwater in the coming century. I see “The Holocene” as haunting due to its acceptance of death in the new ages. And a sense of disconnect of how little humans can do in the face of natural disaster. However, art is subjective and the reaction will varies. I imagine being in the Global North, where the threat of rising sea levels is not yet threatening, there will be a feeling of dread and urgency for action. The sharp increase in sea level rise over the past decades is due to rising temperatures in ocean and melting land ice, caused by human activities. However, according to NOAA, sea level rise will varies across the globe. Coastal regions in the US and the island countries in global south will be affected by rising sea level first. Current estimate of sea level rise is conservative, the levels could be much worse than predicted.This serve to confirm that crises related to water will be the center of displacement in the upcoming decades and century. Moving away from the haunting feelings of complacency, I see the piece as a portrayal of drowning in a disaster of our own making. Unlike the 15 tons of water flooding the tank, impacts of climate change will not slow for humans to adapt.  Source:   


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