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Grace Grothaus and Peter Sloan

May 9, 2019, 5-7 p.m.
Theater/Vroom, Atkinson Hall, UC San Diego

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RISE is an immersive multi-disciplinary audiovisual installation and performance created by collaborative team Grace Grothaus, visual artist, and Peter Sloan, composer. RISE is an artistic investigation of projected sea-level rise, ocean warming and acidification, as well as aquatic species loss in the coming century. The 30-minute experience is built upon audio recordings of marine life from hydrophone recording sites in the arctic and gulf sourced from the archives in the Whale Acoustics Lab at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, generously made possible by collaboration with principal investigator Dr. John A. Hildebrand and marine acoustics graduate student Joshua Jones. A five-piece ensemble of improvisers consisting of violin, oboe, trumpet, tenor saxophone, and double bass will interweave their voices with that of the marine life and play into a sculptural installation to create a solastalgic lamentation. The installation is made up of a series of aquatic pools, each with a network of tubes industrially injecting water into them by way of custom software and electronics created by Grothaus. This causes the water levels to slowly rise and darken over the duration of the performance. The pools will make visible the sounds of RISE by way of patterns on the surface of the water created by speakers beneath (cymatics). Cameras trained on the surface of each pool provide live feed video to the Vroom bank of monitors directly behind, rendering large even small changes in the waters’ alteration. Meanwhile the live performers will interpret the video of the water as graphic scores, forming a recursive, unstable loop that divulges the composition over time.

RISE is part of the Initiative for Digital Exploration of Arts and Sciences (IDEAS) festival at UCSD and supported by a Russell Grant. 

This collaboration arose out of a shared interest between Sloan and Grothaus in collaborative studio practices and artistic production centered around issues of global climate change. Through a series of conversations we identified a mutual desire to set up a recursive, generative system whereby light, water, sound and humans interact authentically in order to give voice to the visceral reality of the potential oceanographic system collapse we are collectively facing and thusly the project RISE began.

As a musician, Peter Sloan is interested in statistics, systems, places, and histories. He also writes about and participates in the growing movement for climate justice. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Alabama and an M.A. in music from Mills College in Oakland, and he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in music at UCSD.

Grace Grothaus is a transdisciplinary artist working in physical computing and other forms to create immersive installations and performances as well as interactive paintings and sculptures. Often engaging with themes of environment and technology, her work has been exhibited and/or collected internationally. Notably Grothaus has shown in the World Creativity Biennale (2012) and the International Symposium of Electronic Art (2018). She holds a BFA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Art History from the Kansas City Art Institute and is currently pursuing an MFA at UCSD.