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Home » Santa Clarita News » CalArts Alum, TEDGlobal Fellow Lars Jan & Early Morning Opera Bring ‘Abacus’ to REDCAT

CalArts Alum, TEDGlobal Fellow Lars Jan & Early Morning Opera Bring ‘Abacus’ to REDCAT

REDCAT_logoFresh from performances at the Sundance Film Festival, award-winning director and media artist Lars Jan and his company Early Morning Opera return home to Los Angeles for a special three-night limited engagement of their ground-breaking work “Abacus” at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in downtown Los Angeles from Thursday, Feb. 2 through Saturday, Feb. 4.

Employing the latest in high-tech wizardry to explore the seductive power of multimedia persuasion, “Abacus” introduces media visionary and cult icon Paul Abacus, who is given a platform to expound on such theories as a re-imagining of Buckminster Fuller’s fabled Geoscope as a new “data cathedral” for the masses and a call for a world without national borders.

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Part pitchman and part sermonizer, Abacus is magnified by a team of live video Steadicams, and large-scale projections in this genre-defying, visually immersive production.

First staged in 2008 at REDCAT’s New Original Works Festival, the full production was originally commissioned by the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) and underwritten by The Tiffen Company, makers of the Steadicam camera stabilizing systems. “Abacus” has since won national praise.

This month, the work heads to Park City, Utah, where it was selected as one of only two live performances to be featured at this year’s Sundance Film Festival as part of the New Frontier section. Additional details for performances at Sundance can be found online here.

Utilizing emerging technologies and stunning visual effects, much of Jan’s work centers on technology, and the relationships of screens, layering live performance with complex digital landscapes of sound and vision.

“One of the things ‘Abacus’ is about is increasing visual literacy so that people are better able to discern good content from bad, and truths from fiction or propaganda more easily,” said Jan, a 2011 TEDGlobal Fellow, in a recent TED blog interview.

Early Morning Opera: “Abacus”
Thursday, Feb. 2–Saturday, Feb. 4 at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20–$25 general ($16–$20 students)

Seating is general admission and tickets are available for purchase in-person at REDCAT box office, by phone at 213-237-2800, or online at

REDCAT | Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater
REDCAT is located at 631 W. 2nd Street, Los Angeles 90012, at the corner of W. 2nd and Hope Streets, inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex.

Lars Jan is a director, designer, writer and media artist, and founding artistic director of Early Morning Opera, a multi-disciplinary art lab based in Los Angeles specializing in live performance.

His recent work includes “A Suicide Bombing By Invitation Only,” an environmental performance/installation commissioned and premiered by The Whitney Museum (New York) and recently seen at the Hi-Lite Gallery (Los Angeles), and “Takes,” a cinematic dance performance/installation presented by Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, the Kelly-Strayhorn Theatre (Pittsburgh) and the 3 Legged Dog Art &Technology Center (New York).

The son of first-generation emigres from Afghanistan and Poland, Jan is committed to international artistic exchange. In 2003-04, he lived in Kyoto, where he trained and performed as a head puppeteer under Abe Hidehiko, designated an “Intangible Cultural Treasure” by the Japanese government.

In summer 2005, as artist-in-residence at Kabul University, Jan taught and developed public art projects throughout Afghanistan. He also traveled on two recording expeditions through rural Ukraine with virtuoso vocalist Marjana Sadowska, resulting in their performance collaboration, “Without Ground.”

Jan was awarded a Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship to pursue his MFA in Directing and Integrated Media at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. He received the 2008 Sherwood Award, granted by Center Theatre Group to an innovative theatre artist in Los Angeles, which led to the creation and premiere of “The Lunacy Commission” at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

Jan has held artistic and teaching residencies at The MacDowell Colony, EMPAC, Brookfield Properties Arts Program, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Princeton University’s Atelier Program, and Mount Holyoke, Swarthmore and Amherst Colleges.

Early Morning Opera’s next large project, “Holoscenes” — about global ritual and environmental catastrophe — is currently in development and is produced by MAPP International Productions. For more information, visit

The Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) is an interdisciplinary contemporary arts center for innovative visual, performing and media arts located in downtown Los Angeles inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. Through performances, exhibitions, screenings, and literary events, REDCAT introduces diverse audiences, students and artists to the most influential developments in the arts from around the world, and gives artists in this region the creative support they need to achieve national and international stature. REDCAT continues the tradition of the California Institute of the Arts, its parent organization, by encouraging experimentation, discovery and lively civic discourse. For more information, visit

CalArts Alum, TEDGlobal Fellow Lars Jan & Early Morning Opera Bring ‘Abacus’ to REDCAT

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