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

Downtown Montreal will soon host a giant 360-degree rotating aquarium with free shows as part of the Festival TransAmériques (FTA). Starting at 6 p.m., from May 25 to 29, Montrealers will be able to attend a free Holoscenes show at the Esplanade Tranquille in the Quartier des Spectacles. The artists will act out scenes from everyday life, while the reservoir fills with water. Everyone will be overwhelmed by a flash flood and forced to adapt.

The installation, inspired by climate change, made waves in Times Square just after the United States withdrew from the Paris climate accords in 2017.

“The environment is changing, but we’re not changing our behaviors,” creator Lars Jan told FTA.

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

“After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, I became interested in media coverage of floods and extreme weather events around the world. I came across a photo by Daniel Berehulak of a devastating flood in Pakistan in 2010… About ten people are moving in strange ways in the water. Some are up to their necks in water, some are up to their hips. It’s hard to understand what’s going on,” he said.

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

“Holoscenes” is just one of 23 theater and dance performances at the Festival TransAmériques taking place until June 9. Festival artists hail from as far away as South Korea, Brazil, Niger, Greece and Belgium.

Festival TransAmériques 2022

When: May 25 to June 9

Where: Place des Arts (various locations)

Cost: Free for Holoscenes and some other performances (see ticket breakdown here). Discount packages for two tickets for two shows are $90 and for two tickets for three shows, $120. Those 30 and under, 65 and over, and performing arts professionals can purchase tickets at reduced rates.

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