Octavio Campos on His Haunting Intention Intervention for Sleepless Night
Miami native, Octavio Campos, founder and director of the arts organization Camposition, has built a local and international reputation for creating provocative, multidisciplinary performances that reinvent the boundaries between dance, theater, and activism. Now after a two-year hiatus, Camposition debuts Intention Intervention, a hybrid dance theater piece commissioned by Sleepless Night Miami Beach. The 30-minute performance will take place at Miami Beach's New World Center SoundScape Park this Saturday at midnight.
We recently caught up with the multi-tasker extraordinaire, who was working from a Las Vegas hotel.
New Times: What are you doing in Las Vegas?
Octavio Campos: I am working on a project for the Latin Grammy's which
opens 5 days after the Please Don't Hate Me! project launch performance
called Intention Intervention. Oh and sandwiched in between I will be
opening with The Red Thread at the Playground Theatre. So you can only
imagine. Having three babies in one week is going to be a pretty
Can you talk a little about the project and the process?
Please Don't Hate Me! began early in December of 2010 with Dale
Penn, a friend and fan of Camposition's work from its work on 1,000
Homosexuals. Dale has since become Executive Director of Camposition.
Anyway, the idea just truly began to grow with a series of experiments
at the end of season 2010-2011. In April 2011 "No Music in This
House," a same-sex domestic violence drama was presented at the National
Anti-Violence Conference in Miami.
That led to a mindful and probing
series of interviews conducted by Dale Penn with a diverse cross section
of society based in Miami, which produced close to 40 interviews and
over 200 hours of material. In the interviews, Dale asked people about
their experience with hate and the experience of being "other." The
interviews cover the gamut of religion, race, gender, sexuality, and
In October I started to pull interview footage together into a film. The
result was a beautifully edited art film directed by Rick Delgado and
Dale Penn. The film includes interviews, music, performance and
subliminal messaging. Intention Intervention is the maiden voyage of
the large-scale project Please Don't Hate Me!
Were there particular events that triggered Intention Intervention?
Meeting Dale Penn in December and the surge of teen suicides right
before Christmas. Also aggressive and in-your-face hate/bullying
campaigns like FCKH8 and It Only Gets Better.
Tell us about the Sleepless Night event. What will spectators witness?
This is my message-in-the-bottle piece. It's the simplest message
I've sent into the world. It's the quietest piece I've made. In addition
to the film, I have gathered over one hundred yoga practitioners who
will perform a yoga-influenced sequence -- kind of like a prayer. Under
the direction of Katie Christie, the director of Voices United, 108 kids
will sing the Stephen Sondheim song "The Children Will Listen." The
kids will come in and out of the performance like a swarm of bees.
What is the role of activism in your work?
My work has always had the social change component, but now it's
really happening. I don't want to be an activist any more. I never was.
I was baptized that name when I did "Bugchasers" and I'm trying to
recoin the term of actionism. It was a small movement that emerged in
Austria and didn't last long. But the whole concept is of someone taking
The title of your piece begins with a polite request and ends with
an exclamation mark. What is the request? What is the exclamation?
I am so glad you caught that ... yes ... it is polite, subtle yet
builds into a demand. I wanted to create a project that spoke for the
majority. Please Don't Hate Me! will hopefully create that type of
crescendo within its mission of transforming intolerance into acceptance
... PDHM is also a project that I want to speak to everybody.
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