AH HUMANITY - HARVARD
Presented by the Harvard University Committee on the Arts, Ah humanity! was a free to the public large scale audio/video installation by the artists Ernst Karel, Véréna Paravel, and Lucien Castaing-Taylor.
In the words of the Artists “Ah humanity! reflects on the fragility and folly of humanity in the age of the Anthropocene. Taking the 3/11/11 disaster of Fukushima as its point of departure, it evokes an apocalyptic vision of modernity, and our predilection for historical amnesia and futuristic flights of fancy. The images were shot on a telephone through a handheld telescope, at once close to and far from its subject, while the audio composition combines empty excerpts from Japanese genbaku and related film soundtracks, recordings from seismic laboratories, and location sound.”
This was the second projection installation on the Harvard Campus for Materials & Methods, after the “John Harvard Speaks” installation. Materials & Methods was brought on to facilitate all technical execution of the conceptual art installation and managed the run of the installation every night it was displayed from April 10-16th 2016.
We began the process with a 3D model of the entire building and plaza and within the model identified an ideal location for the projection onto the facade and an accessible position to locate the projection tower. In order to achieve the appropriate brightness of the projected image at long range we specified two long range high-luminosity projectors that were overlapped with a redundant video feed. We built an enclosed weather-safe housing with substantial air flow and mounted a lower adjacent rooftop. Our team also oversaw the installation of a surround audio system to create a fully immersive experience where the perceived location of the audio source shifted depending on where on the plaza the viewer stood, and on selected nights of the installation, artist Ernst Karel, mixed the sound live on location.