The time is Heinrich, the place is Luber

In a few short hours it will be January 2001 (really – I checked it out).

Most of you are probably trying to recall something memorable about the year 2000 and are failing miserably, unless you’re one of those folks who think a contested election involving a pair of frighteningly mediocre presidential candidates is a big deal.

Is there anything you can do to make 2001 more memorable than the previous ho-hum year?

Glad you asked…

If you want to kick your lifestyle into high gear next month and have memories that will undoubtedly follow you for the rest of your days, mark Jan. 10 on your calendar followed by the name Heinrich Luber.

Luber is the Swiss performance-installation artist who put the capital “P” in performance and he’s coming to San Francisco’s Exploratorium to, er, hover 15 feet in the air over a giant megaphone.

If you’ve never had an opportunity to observe a Swiss performance artist hovering in space over a huge megaphone before, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

If, on the other hand, you have previously seen an airborne Swiss performance artist floating over a monstrous megaphone, this will be twice-in-a-lifetime experience (sort of like that time you and your nephew, Pugsley, kept going back to see the giant, man-eating clam in Corpus Christi).

Either way, this is a great start for your new year.

Luber is appearing as part of The Exploratorium’s 2nd Wednesdays Arts Cafe program as a featured guest in “Aerovox: An Evening Filled with Visual and Auditory Creations Based on Air.”

Visual and auditory creations based on air? Hey, it doesn’t get any better than this, amigos…

According to The Exploratorium, Luber’s contribution to the evening will create “an eerie tableau vivant, both provocative and confounding …Luber literally, yet quite mysteriously, floats in air. He remains suspended for hours, all the while softly speaking into a giant 15-foot megaphone. The image and the reality defy the laws of gravity.”

Yes, this might even be cooler than The Exploratorium’s do-it-yourself autopsy program last fall…

Luber’s an internationally recognized specialist in the creation of things one simply doesn’t expect to see without a little pharmaceutical assistance.

A man with a message, the performance-installation artist has appeared everywhere from Cairo to Cleveland. Sometimes he makes his point by appearing with a stuffed fox or heron protruding from his mouth. At other times he’s attached to a gigantic, cartoon-like pair of hands. Sometimes he claps them. Sometimes he drags them along behind him and sometimes they talk.

At the height of his abilities, though, Luber is effortlessly floating 15 feet in the air while murmuring into a gigantic megaphone.

And you thought art was dead…

Originally published December 31, 2000