When multimedia artist Agustina Woodgate was invited to participate in Miami-Dade County’s inaugural public art program for the Underline — a linear, 9.7-mile park that's planned to run beneath Metrorail — she knew she had to activate her online radio station, RadioEE, a project she has been producing since 2011.
Woodgate, along with fellow Miami artists Bhakti Baxter, Naomi Fisher, and Nicolas Lobo, have been commissioned by the county for the program. She has dubbed her work Ciclo, and it will offer conversations about park planning, development, and “parkitecture” through a variety of voices, from urban planners and train conductors to historians. There will even be live music interludes, and like all RadioEE broadcasts, it will be conducted in Spanish, English, and Spanglish.
Woodgate says she is not interested in creating public art that is temporarily erected or used as a marketing tool that disappears after its run. “My attitude about public art is less thinking about the market and more thinking about the public,” she says, “so that was very clear to me: This is the radio.”
RadioEE is “a nomadic, bilingual, event-based” broadcast driven by themes of mobility, migration, and transportation — all themes the Underline addresses. The fit was perfect. But Woodgate knew she could take it to the next level by placing the radio station in motion. She reached out to Cycle Party so the station could move via bike, a method many locals are expected to use along the path. The company agreed to donate the use of one of its 16-person cycles, allowing Woodgate and her guests to pedal while they converse with the help of volunteers and a Cycle Party pilot at the wheel.
Woodgate calls the cycle “the next level of nomadism” for RadioEE. The pedals generate wattage to fuel a dynamo, which propels the vehicle. There is even room for a band in the back. With human pedaling and a solar generator to power it, Ciclo is a sustainable radio station on wheels.
Along the Underline, from Miami’s Brickell neighborhood south to Dadeland, Woodgate has scheduled guest appearances to intersect with the cycle at Metrorail stations. The logistics involved are intense. “The bicycle actually is challenging because now you are asked to move your legs to move the actual radio station, because you need to get on time to the next station to actually drop off and pick up our guests. The guests are getting dropped off and picked up at every station, so it’s a collective effort.”
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More challenging — and even a little scary — is the inevitable traffic Ciclo will encounter. “Because the Underline does not exist yet, the trail is incredibly interrupted, incredibly dangerous at some points,” the artist says. “There's Bird Road, Douglas Road, the highway. It's a mess, so I guess that's what's going to affect the conversation more than the pedaling.”
But Woodgate likes to look at the bigger picture. She sees the broadcast becoming a recording that can be referenced by those working on the development of the Underline. “We are already producing an archive that could be a tool for those designing this trail," she says of the broadcast, "so this actually contains information that can be utilized to make certain decisions."
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, January 13, through Sunday, January 15. The broadcast can be heard on radioee.net and will be available on demand at RadioEE following the live broadcast. WynwoodRadio.com will also rebroadcast the event, and Woodgate will edit a broadcast to be played inside Metrorail trains and at stations in March.
Follow Hans Morgenstern on Twitter: @HansMorgenstern.