ABACUS (2010, 2012)

ABACUS is a baroque presentation delivered by Japanese cult-icon Paul Abacus about the future of national borders, the workings of contemporary persuasion, and our evolving relationship to the screens in our public and private spaces, not to mention our pockets. Inspired by TED talks and mega-church media design, ABACUS features kaleidoscopic data visualizations, dancing Steadicam operators, and the world’s first fully-accredited giant panda. Originally performed in a six-screen iteration in the 1600-seat concert hall at EMPAC in late 2010, ABACUS has since been adapted to a single-screen version for many smaller venues.


  • BAM Next Wave Festival (Brooklyn) — September 24 – 27, 2014
  • Live Arts Exchange Festival (Los Angeles) — September 2013
  • REDCAT (Los Angeles) — February 2012
  • Sundance Film Festival (Park City, UT) — January 2012
  • EMPAC Filament Festival (Troy, NY) — October 2010
  • REDCAT NOW Festival (Los Angeles) — July 2009

  • Created by Early Morning Opera
  • Produced by Early Morning Opera, in association with Los Angeles Performance Practice
  • Conceived, Written, and Directed by Lars Jan
  • Performed by Sonny Valicenti
  • Video, Scenic & Software Design by Pablo N. Molina
  • Visualization Software & Data Narrative Design / Development by James N. Sears and
  • Jonathan Cousins
  • Composition, Sound & Software Design by Nathan Ruyle
  • Lighting Design & Production Management by Christopher Kuhl
  • Steadicam Operation by Nicholas Konow and John Luna
  • Online & Public Choreographer: Blaine O’Neill
  • Panda Wrangler: Luke Norby
  • Printed Design: Thirst, Rick Valicenti, John Pobojewski, and Bud Rodecker
Funding / Commissioning:

  • ABACUS is commissioned and developed at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC).
  • ABACUS has received generous support from the Center for Cultural Innovation, Garrett Brown, The Tiffen Company (makers of the Steadicam camera stabilizing systems), and from many individual donors.

ABACUS at EMPAC (2010)

Printed Materials