June is Miami Film Month, highlighting the city's growing place in the world of cinema. The festival, now in its third year, gives visitors and locals a good reason try something new. Many organizations will host special events, including discounted or free film screenings.
Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) will commemorate the event by hosting a happy hour and DJ on the museum's terrace today from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is complimentary as part of the Free First Thursdays.
At the center of the space is a film installation by artist Stan Douglas. His work, Luanda-Kinshasa, was recently purchased by the museum in partnership with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and is a new addition to PAMM’s permanent collection. The piece will be shown during the evening celebration and throughout the summer in the museum's auditorium.
A Vancouver native, Douglas is an internationally recognized artist working in diverse media such as film, installation, and photography. Much of his work uses simple disruption tactics to break apart our unconscious relationship with mass media, history, and time.
His Luanda-Kinshasa is set in the 1970s at the CBS 30th Street Studio in New York City, famously known as “The Church.” In its time, the studio produced key recordings by legendary musicians Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, Miles Davis, and many others. For the film, Douglas created an imaginary musical group, with costumes and sets based on meticulous research. It appears to be a documentary, but as PAMM
Where many of Douglas’ films are heavily conceptual, this one is among his more accessible works.
Morales notes, “The music and the styles and mannerisms of the musicians are so compelling, they make time seem to melt away.” And touching on questions of race, gender, and nationality still relevant today, Morales continues, “the work vividly evokes the emergence of identity-based political struggles in the 1970s, alluding in particular to the birth of a globally minded black consciousness.”
Luanda-Kinshasa’s conceptual twist comes via its soundtrack. Over the course of the six-hour film, the band continually improvises two songs, “Luanda” and “Kinshasa.” According to Morales, “What seems at first to be straightforward, open-ended improvisation turns out to be a seemingly endless loop of edited and repeated parts.” For the viewer, “it becomes difficult to tell whether time is moving forward or folding in on itself.” Thus, Douglas interrupts the film’s temporal progression, revealing it as a construction.
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The celebration on PAMM’s terrace will pay homage to the cultural era depicted in the film. On the terrace, DJ Hans will play recordings from the many artists who spent time at the Church and defined the sound of the '70s with their music.
— Catherine Annie Hollingsworth, artburstmiami.com
Stan Douglas' Luanda-Kinshasa
Opening Thursday, June 2, from 6 to 9 p.m. and running through June at Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; pamm.org. Opening night is free. To learn more about Miami Film Month, visit miamiandbeaches.com.