Last February, acclaimed performance artist Xavier Cha held mysterious auditions at the de La Cruz Collection, where she was artist-in-residence. Perhaps you sent in your headshot, killed it at the audition, but never heard back. Now you're wondering what happened? Who won while you lost? Sorry to disappoint, but we don't know yet either. What we do know is that Cha and three chosen locals will perform this Saturday during the art walk at de La Cruz.
Cha's been spotted dancing outside of a sushi bar in full shrimp garb in Human Advertisement, but don't expect that much of a colorful crazy display on Saturday. The performance is going to be silent and cinematic, and center on the actor's emotive faces. We spoke with Cha about Saturday's event and how she feels about South Florida.
New Times: You held a casting call in Miami a few months ago calling people to perform at de la Cruz this week. Is it going to be a one-time performance?
Xavier Cha: Yes, it is a one-time performance.
How will the local cast of performers add to the piece?
The performances have no personal narrative, they are not about what I can do, or endurance or my body or identity. They are more formal considerations of broader cultural concepts, and ideas pertaining to projected spaces (both psychological and physical) and accessibility.
Do you prefer working with people or performing alone?
I much prefer bringing in the skill of people whose forte is outside of the visual arts to bring up concepts beyond the performance's artworld context.
What will this work likely convey to the art walk audience?
The apparatus involved in filmmaking is formally interesting. One hope is for people to appreciate the elements involved in a shoot on a sculptural level. Another thing I find interesting is the discrepancy between the volume of film apparatus (dolly, track, lights, etc.), effort and manpower versus the few seconds of footage you are trying to achieve. The real space versus the unseen filmic space. And finally the mental/interior space of the actors is generously exposed for viewers to occupy. This projected interior is a fascinating aspect of acting -- a subtle psychological sculpting of the space around them -- whether based on personal experience or mimetic of something familiar. Where this space comes from is mysterious.
How would you summarize the kind of art you make?
Performances that play with multiple perspectives and deferred access, reflecting our search within the fractured -- simultaneity of contemporary experience.
You've done work with music and dance. Are you a trained musician or dancer?
Not really, I grew up playing classical piano, and I've always had an interest in dance, but no.
What's your connection with South Florida? I know you've worked with Nancy Garcia.
I have several good friends in New York who grew up in Miami, including Nancy Garcia. My partner who is also an artist lived in Miami for a few years and I've visited several times for the fairs, but my first time showing here was through Ruba Katrib at Moca Miami for the show "Convention" in 2009.
Have you been living here during your residency with de la Cruz? If so, what have you learned about us during that time?
I stayed a couple weeks in February for the auditions, and a week now. My grasp of Miami is still not clear, but people seem enthusiastic and supportive of the arts. There seems to be a hunger for activity which is a nice change to what can sometimes be a jaded attitude in New York City (but I love both!).
Catch Cha's one-time performance on Saturday at the de la Cruz Collection (23 NE 41 Street, Miami) from 7 to 10 p.m. Visit delacruzcollection.org.