Presented free to the public by the Harvard University Committee on the Arts, Ah humanity! was a large scale audio/video installation by artists Ernst Karel, Véréna Paravel, and Lucien Castaing-Taylor.
“Ah humanity! reflects on the folly of humanity in the age of the anthropocene. Using the 2011 Fukushima disaster as a point of departure, the installation evokes an apocalyptic vision of modernity with our predilection for historical amnesia and futuristic flights of fancy. The images were shot both near and far through a handheld telescope on a phone. The audio composition combines empty excerpts from Japanese genbaku and related film soundtracks, recordings from seismic laboratories, and location sound.”
Vanessa Till Hooper, working with Materials & Methods facilitated technical execution, installation, and project management of this collaborative undertaking. We began the process with a 3D model of both the building and plaza to find a location for the projection tower. We employed two long range high-luminosity projectors overlapped with redundant video feed and built an enclosed weather-safe house with substantial air flow on a lower adjacent rooftop. Our team installed surround-sound throughout the science center plaza, so the perceived location of the audio source shifted depending on the viewer’s position on the plaza. Audio artist Ernst Karel mixed sound live on location.