Film and TV

Desirée Holman's Sophont in Action Will Launch Black Cube at Red Rocks October 1

“My greatest hope is to provide people with a completely immersive experience, enveloping them in this world,” says Desirée Holman, an interdisciplinary artist whose work has a self-described “arm of anthropology.” The California-based artist is now putting the finishing touches on her exhibit Sophont in Action, which will launch the Black Cube nomadic art space tomorrow. Holman will incorporate site-specific mapping to project images at Red Rocks Amphitheatre while performers act out the three character types she’s created; Sophont in Action will feature science-fiction vignettes combined with social questions and pop culture. After several casting calls, Black Cube chose a handful of performers from Denver, Aurora, Broomfield and other local communities to execute this live-cinema event.

Holman’s exhibition will begin with her first character type, the time traveler. Inspired by technology and “scionic” elements, these performers will exhibit transhumanism.  “The main element of this costume are these helmets made out of everything from kitchen utensils, sound materials and things that resemble micro-protons,” Holman says. “They’re supposed to look like these characters are scrubbing for a signal.”

The exhibition’s second character is the ecstatic dancer. Holman says ecstatic dancers meet up in the real world to perform this sacred dance that is meant to direct social change and celebrate free-form movement.

The indigo child, the final character Holman has created for this performance, is what she refers to as a “digital native" and the next phase of humanity. This is not a character completely of her own invention, she notes, but part of a larger school of thought. “The indigo children are very drawn to differences, and exist, in a way, to flatten hierarchical levels,” Holman says. “This is a concept that’s been around for quite a while, especially when thought of in an energy-specific world.”

Sophont in Action will be supplemented by articles of clothing that Holman designed to be sold out of the Black Cube container. Holman’s work typically comprises painting, drawing, sculpture and installation, and one of her recent paintings inspired the designs for the tunics, capes and pants that will be available in the pop-up shop. But attendees are urged to wear black to the event.

Holman and Black Cube executive director/curator Cortney Stell have worked together on projects in the past, and Holman calls the Black Cube exhibition the “bookends” to their previous work. “I’m proud of this work with [Stell], because it feels like we’re closing off this chapter we started together before,” Holman says. “We’re reconnecting with fully fleshed-out ideas for this trajectory we created.”

Holman’s exhibition for Black Cube is being produced in collaboration with, and supported by, the Performance and Film Program at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Headlands Center for the Arts Alumni New Works.

Admission to Black Cube's Sophont in Action launch event is free. It will begin promptly at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 1, by the Trading Post at Red Rocks (see map below). A free shuttle will leave from the Denver Arts Museum plaza at 6 p.m.; to find out if there's still room on board, contact Cortney Stell at For more information about Black Cube itself, click here.

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Lauren Archuletta is a contributor for Westword's arts section, covering Denver's health and wellness scene. Follow her work for tips on cheap workouts and which yoga classes include mimosas and beer.