Many thanks to Duane Toops for interviewing me on his podcast The Process & The Path. It was a joy talking with him! Check out the podcast episode, “Art Meets Mysticism: An Interview With Joel Tauber” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Anchor FM; and check out the video version of our conversation on YouTube as well.
I’m really excited that UNDERWATER opens on Saturday June 22 at the Adamski Gallery in Berlin. The 7-channel video installation – that’s also an operatic disco – brings environmentalism, trance music, and mysticism together.
Watch the preview video to hear me singing about global warming like a Jewish cantor on the Day of Atonement.
And read more about the project and the show (below).
Hope to see you soon!
JOEL TAUBER | UNDERWATER
ADAMSKI | BERLIN
JUNE 25 – AUGUST 17
OPENING: JUNE 22, 7-9 pm
(Gallery closed July 20-27)
UNDERWATER brings environmentalism, trance music, and mysticism together; as it suggests, in interactive and immersive ways, that we’re all connected to each other and to the land / sea – even if we have largely forgotten that and even if we have to collectively change our ways. As people dance in the UNDERWATER operatic disco, their movements – which echo Tauber’s – blur the distinctions between our bodies. The boundaries between the Self and the Other collapse; just as the distinctions between people / marine life blur, and the distinctions between the human built environment of the exhibition space and the underwater video world merge.
In the 7-channel video installation, 5 videos focus on what Tauber finds underwater: pollution, death, nausea, a beautiful sea turtle, and swaying kelp… A 6th video shows him disappearing into a cloud of air bubbles; and a 7th video shows a visual map of his 40 scuba dives, which slowly moves into existence from left to right in real time with the 51 minute musical piece.
The composition arises from depth readings recorded during every second of Tauber’s dives. Tauber assigned each dive an instrument and a beat and translated the movements of each dive in real time into music: the deeper the depth reading, the deeper the note. Sometimes, all 40 dives play together. Other times, a “band” of dives are heard. And, then there are moments when individual dives have “solos”. Tauber sings his dive depths (higher notes for the higher depths, deeper notes for the deeper depths) (“43 feet”… “80 feet”…) at various intervals to emphasize the relationships between his movements underwater and the music.
Tauber sings about seeking the Other (which is the chorus) in ways that evoke the Jewish cantorial scales; and he sings about pollution and global warming in ways that evoke the iconic old melody “Kol Nidre” from the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. So, there is a prayer-like / collective atonement element to this underwater rave.
8 drawings of the musical notes and lyrics in the composition accompany the videos.
Participation in the show can happen both directly, by experiencing the installation and dancing to its music; and also remotely, by responding to the call to send personal stories about global warming, marine life, seas rising, and hurricanes to email@example.com These stories will be included in the show.
ADAMSKI / BERLIN
OPEN TUESDAY – SATURDAY / 12 – 6 PM
AND BY APPOINTMENT
Story about UNDERWATER in Impakter Magazine
It was a joy to write this story for Impakter Magazine about pollution and environmentalism, while thinking about my roots. I talk about UNDERWATER: a 7 channel video installation and operatic disco where I sing about global warming and pollution like a Jewish cantor on the Day of Atonement, while trance music arises from depth readings taken from 40 of my scuba dives. UNDERWATER opens at the Adamski Gallery in Berlin this May. If you have any stories about global warming, marine life, seas rising and hurricanes, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org – they will be included in the show.
There’s certainly a lot of things to worry about right now. Increased hate speech and hate crimes; fascist, racist rallies; a terrifying US president and cabinet; deportations; global warming; hurricanes… Yet, somehow I retain hope. I’m encouraged by the resistance here and I’m buoyed when I hear about how many of the Tree Babies are thriving. When I started taking care of The Tree in the middle of the parking lot, I never thought that The Tree would have so many offspring and that so many people and institutions would be kind enough to adopt them. Not all of the Tree Babies are still with us, but many are and many of them are thriving. One of them lives in Germany, far apart from its many siblings in Southern California. Smaller than its siblings, it must still be quite happy; as it has been cared for wonderfully by the Haubrok Foundation. This small German Tree Baby can be seen in front of Stephan Adamski’s new gallery space in Berlin as part of an impressive exhibition, organized by film curator Marc Glöde and collector Axel Haubrok with Black Flamingo Projects, called “la > x” – which focuses on artistic viewpoints from LA. The show includes the movie version of Sick-Amour as well as a large photo of The Tree. The opening is tonight (September 12) from 7 – 9 pm at FAHRBEREITSCHAFT (herzbergstraße 40-43, 10365 Berlin). The exhibition, which features works by my former teachers Stephen Prina and Christopher Williams as well as Margaret Honda, will run from September 15 to December 2. The show is open on Saturdays after 3 pm (pre-registration necessary; email@example.com). It’s also open on september 15 from 7 – 9 pm and on september 16 and 17 from 12 – 6 pm for Berlin Art Week.
Please join me in my ongoing exploration of the meaning of sharing. In addition to viewing the installation and watching the videos; you are invited to share your toys and help arrange them in the gallery. Then, at the end of the show, you are welcome to take the toys and give them away to whomever you think will enjoy them.
Toy Drop Off: March 19–20, March 24-28, and March 31-April 2 from 12-6 pm.
Toy Pick Up: May 3, 5, and 6 from 12-6 pm
Opening: April 2, 7 pm
Exhibition: April 3 – May 6, Tuesday – Sunday, 12-6 pm
Adamski / Berlin, Strausberger Platz 3 / 10243 Berlin
Press release below:
We are happy to present „The Sharing Project“, the 6th solo show of Joel Tauber at our gallery.
Why and under which circumstances should we share? To what extent should we share? Should we share similarly in every situation with everyone in the same way? What rules (moral, ethical, political, social) should guide our sharing? What impulses impact how much we share? Are we acting consistently? To what extent are we teaching our kids to share? If we believe in the value of sharing, why do we allow so much inequity to occur?
These questions haunt Joel Tauber at the beginning of „The Sharing Project“. More questions emerge, as he tries to uncover its meaning and teach it to his young son, Zeke. Tauber´s search leads them to the remains of Happyville, a former Socialist Jewish commune founded at the beginning of the 20th century in South Carolina, that faded away after just 3 years.
Through his rigorous – and oftentimes humorous – experiments and escapades; Tauber embodies the researcher, thinker, and adventurer. He battles our assumptions and furthers the proud literary traditions of the fool and jester.
In his recent project, it is as a father who encounters the challenge of teaching his first son to share, leading him to a deep and rigorous exploration of sharing. Tauber interviewed numerous scholars in evolutionary biology, psychology, anthropology, history, philosophy, education, economics, and political science. Their answers lead to new questions and different interpretations. The show exposes the complexities and contradictions of sharing. The installation – like the fool – does not demolish boundaries but offers possibilities of escaping them.
Joel Tauber received his MFA from Art Center College of Design and his BA from Yale University. „The Sharing Project” will be presented in an upcoming solo show at the University Art Museum at Cal State Long Beach. His work has been featured in the 2004 and 2008 California Biennials, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; Kunstverein Hildesheim, Germany; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Canada; W139, Amsterdam; De Appel Centre For Contemporary Art, Amsterdam; and the Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA. Film Festivals include the San Francisco Documentary Festival, the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, the Sedona International Film Festival, and the Downtown Film Festival – Los Angeles, where his movie, “Sick-Amour”, was awarded “Best Green Film.” Tauber won the 2007 Contemporary Collectors of Orange County Fellowship, the 2007-2008 CalArts / Alpert Ucross Residency Prize for Visual Arts, and a 2015 grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation in conjunction with a residency from the Grand Central Art Center.
Check out this piece from The Sharing Project in the “Impact” section of The Huffington Post. It’s the finale of a series of 7 stories (plus an earlier intro piece) that I’ve been presenting in The Huffington Post in advance of upcoming shows at the Adamski Gallery (April 2-29) in Berlin and The University Art Museum at Cal State Long Beach (June 12-July 12).
In case you missed any of the other stories, here’s all the links in one spot:
I am super excited about two upcoming exhibitions of The Sharing Project. The installation will premiere at The Adamski Gallery For Contemporary Art in Berlin on April 2, and the show will run through April 29 (including Sundays). It will then be presented at The University Art Museum at Cal State Long Beach (Long Beach, California) from June 13 – July 19.
I’m really looking forward to this upcoming event at the Adamski Gallery in Berlin.
Details and info below:
We would like to invite you for a talk with Joel Tauber and Astrid Mania at the gallery on Wednesday November 19th at 7:30 pm.
Joel will present a sneak peek of his recent works and present a preview of The Sharing Project, his latest installation that is going to be finished and presented in the gallery in Berlin in spring 2015 before traveling to LA.
The Sharing Project poses questions about whether we share enough in our capitalist world. It focuses on the seemingly simple task of Tauber teaching his young son Zeke to share. As Zeke and Joel struggle to understand what sharing means and how much they should share, experts in philosophy, evolutionary biology, psychology, history, anthropology, economics, politics, and education offer their thoughts, creating more complexity and questions. In pursuit of answers, Tauber turns to the forgotten Socialist Jewish commune of Happyville (1905-1908) in South Carolina, hoping that some of the mysteries of sharing are buried in the traces of the utopian community.
Tauber’s practice has led him through a series of rigorous personal investigations about mysticism, ethics, and the environment. These research projects are presented as installations and films that are designed to raise questions and offer cultural critiques in non-didactic ways. Tauber spent two years trying to achieve enlightenment outside the confines of organized religion by inserting himself into holes in the ground. He spent another two years researching flight as a metaphysical tool and applying that research to his own pursuit of flight, flying 150 feet into the air for an hour and a half in a bagpipe-and-balloon-powered flying machine that he had constructed. He spent the next couple of years exploring the ocean while scuba diving and translating his movements into music before he spent the following five years protecting and celebrating a forlorn and lonely sycamore tree that was stuck in a giant parking lot in Pasadena. His last project – Pumping – is a meditation on the birth of Los Angeles and how the Southern Pacific Railroad commandeered the City and exploited the oil and water resources in the region.
Joel Tauber was born in Boston in 1972. He studied at Yale University and Art Center College of Design. He currently lives and works in North Carolina.
Astrid Mania is an art critic based in Berlin.