November 1, 2011 | 8:00am
Even though Ocean Driv
e is so named because it borders a seashore, we're rarely thinking about dolphins and seagulls while strolling down the street. Mostly, we're thinking about how to dodge restaurant hostesses aggressively marketing gigantic mojitos, or anyone ogling the leopard-print unitard uniforms from Mangos or cradling a souvenir Wet Willy's cup like a newborn baby.
But during the 13-hour art marathon known as Sleepless Night
Miami Beach this weekend, Barcelona street theater group Sarruga
will force everyone on the street to stop for a moment and ponder the fact that marine life exists -- mostly because that marine life will be in everyone's face and sparking up a block party.
The Spanish company is the project of Pakito Gutierrez, an artist who creates giant, fluid mechanical structures that resemble animals with life-like movement. The animals -- which range from towering praying mantises to bright orange ants -- have been disrupting urban spaces in 35 countries for 17 years. Last year, Sarruga's insects invaded the Miami Beach Convention Center for Sleepless Night.
But this is the first year the theater group will hit the streets, enlisting giant sharks and fish to "make everyone go underwater for an hour," says Gutierrez. Experimental electronic music, pyrotechnics, and lighting will accompany Fishes, and he hopes spectators will make a party of it.
"It's a surprise everywhere it goes," he says, about the presentation, titled Fish. "The streets are a very important part of the show. We play with the people. The animals interact with them. So every spectacle is different. It's not like in theater. We do it in a wide street...in a small street...in a large plaza and each experience is different."
Gutierrez's inspiration to design giant, mechanical animals that float above and through crowds stems from environmentalism. When we catch up with him on the phone, he tells us he is doing the interview while staring at the ocean from his balcony in Barcelona because that is what he most loves to do (ed note: JEALOUS).
"We're making ocean animals, who we are constantly punishing, the protagonists," he says. "We're taking them to the space in which we live so that people are interacting with them."
Fishes will be presented as part of Sleepless Night Miami Beach on Saturday, November 5 from 8 to 9 p.m. along Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. The event is free.
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