Downtown Montreal is getting a giant rotating aquarium with free art shows this week

A gigantic 360-degree rotating aquarium with free performances will soon take place in downtown Montreal as part of Festival TransAmériques (FTA). From May 25 to 29, Montrealers can attend a free show of ‘Holoscenes’ from 6pm on the Esplanade Tranquille in the Quartier des Spectacles. Performers will recreate scenes from everyday life as the tank fills with water. Each will be submerged in a flash flood and forced to adapt.

The installation, inspired by climate change, caused a stir in Times Square just after the US withdrew from the Paris climate accords in 2017.

“The environment is being transformed, but we are not changing our behavior,” creator Lars Jan told FTA.

Jan’s project is based on public submissions depicting everyday life in about 40 countries, including one from a man selling fruit in India and another from a person who reads the newspaper. The artist-activist turned it into a choreographed underwater performance of about five hours.

“After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, I became interested in media coverage of flooding and extreme weather around the world. I discovered a photograph by Daniel Berehulak of a devastating flood in Pakistan in 2010…A dozen people are moving on strange ways through the water. Some are up to their necks in water, others up to their hips. It’s hard to understand what’s happening,” he said.

“It has become clear to me that the main problem is not CO2 levels or pollution, but rather the human capacity to make long-term decisions, our capacity for empathy over great distances, our fear of complexity. We are not good at handling the long-term actions that the climate crisis requires.”

‘Holoscenes’ is just one of 23 theater and dance shows at Festival TransAmériques running through June 9. Festival artists come from South Korea, Brazil, Nigera, Greece and Belgium.

Festival TransAmeriques 2022

When: May 25 – June 9

Where: Place des Arts (various locations)

Cost: Free for Holoscenes and some other performances (see the breakdown of the tickets here). Discount packages for two tickets for two shows are $90, and for two tickets for three shows $120. Ages 30 and under, age 65 and over, and performing arts professionals can purchase tickets at a discounted rate.


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