KATJA LOHER IN HARTFORD COURANT

GLOBAL WARMING VIDEO SCULPTURES AT NBMAA  

Katja Loher asks a lot of questions. "Do dogs want to be your friend?" "Is nature a good friend of yours?" "Are you your own friend?" "How much money would you like to have?" "What are you saving for?" "Are you afraid of the poor?"

"My inspiration is 'The Book of Questions' by Pablo Neruda," Loher said. "I don't want to point a finger and say 'do that, don't do that.' These questions I ask, you usually can't just say yes or no. You cannot easily find an answer. It's not a questionnaire. It's a way of thinking."

Her overall theme — the name of her exhibit at New Britain Museum of American Art — is one of the most unanswerable questions of them all: "How Can We Cool Down the Gilded Sunbeams?" "Environment is my theme," she said, "the imbalance that we are creating with nature, with global warming, climate change, the disappearance of the bees."

Loher presents her questions inside video portals made from blown glass globes mounted on a wall or flat round screens. In the portals run continuous loops of films featuring dancers in white costumes, forming themselves into letter patterns asking questions. In other portals, Loher's dancers portray pollinating birds and insects — bees, bats, butterflies, hummingbirds — to draw attention to the diminishing populations of these indicator species. Some of the video portals feature footage shot in the rain forest in Peru, where shamans practice plant medicine.

The presentation in the Cheney Gallery is enhanced by undulating techno-music to set a tone of busy, hive-like activity.

Not all the globes — she calls them "video sculptures" — present questions. Some have little surprises that Loher creates with her network of artist friends from New York. Acclaimed stage actor Geoff Sobelle appears in one, presenting his one-man show, "The Object Lesson." Composer Phillip Glass appears in another.

Loher said she has no answer to the question that names the exhibit. "I wish I had a solution right now," she said. "What can we do to stop global warming?"

"NEW/NOW: KATJA LOHER: HOW CAN WE COOL DOWN THE GILDED SUNBEAMS?" will be at  New Britain Museum of American Art , 56 Lexington St., until Dec. 15. Loher will give a presentation on Aug, 26 at 1 p.m.