Who says you can't shoehorn big ideas into tight spaces? At Little Havana's unpretentious 6th Street Container, the alternative space's founder and chief curator, Adalberto Delgado, has been dishing out a string of shows that are drawing jaded art connoisseurs like hobos to a ham sandwich.
This past weekend, the indie arts activist opened "Dome Drift," a collaborative site-specific work by Wes Kline and Cristina Molina.
Delgado, one of this year's Knight Arts Challenge finalists, has dished out yet another intriguing exhibit, this time by this pair of artists who have managed to convey their shared interests in ideal spaces with an economy of conceptual gestures. Kline is an artist, writer, and assistant professor of photography at the University of Florida in Gainesville. And Molina an artist who lives and works in Miami.
For their show, they employed video, sound, an anamorphic floor drawing, and two large mesh vinyl banners outside the space to investigate the form of the dome as both emblematic of communal living and unfulfilled ideological promise. They also published a zine handed out to visitors during the opening.
The dome is commonly found throughout history in some of the world's most famous architecture. Thought to symbolize the celestial vault, domes typically crowned ancient temples of worship from the Pantheon in Rome, to Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock to the Hagia Sophia and St. Peter's Basilica.
Buckminster Fuller, who developed the structural math for the geodesic dome, appears to be the guiding spirit informing this exhibit. Fuller's geodesic domes have been deployed everywhere from military radar stations to environmental protest camps.
Although Fuller's innovation never caught on with the public, it remains very much part of DIY culture with 500,000 of the domes built around the world, many of which are still in use today. His notions of universal architecture made the dome an ideal container for these artists to explore questions of intimacy, isolation, and potentiality.
They use the boundaries of the exhibition space to create their own idea of the dome. To accomplish their goals, they invited four specialists in their fields -- an architect, a yoga instructor, a mathematician, and an opera singer--to describe the process of building a dome in their particular disciplines.
In the resulting audio piece, one can hear the singer describing creating a dome in the back of her mouth and breathing deeply for the effective transmission of sound. Her commentary overlaps with the voices of the others to create an interesting cascade of chatter resonating throughout the space.
Kline and Molina also measured the actual dimensions of the 6th Street Container to scale and recreate the outline of the Little Havana space at the University of Florida's football stadium and in an empty plot of rural land in Gainesville. They used magenta duct tape to delineate the outlines of its boundaries. The colored strips serve as a sort of Ariadne's thread, conceptually tying different segments of the Spartan show together.
They then had four people contort themselves into an upward bow yoga pose or a full backbend within the taped-off areas. They did so to suggest the body striking a dome shape and to evoke thoughts of first the building then the collapsing of the structure within the marked boundaries. They consequently filmed the performance shown here on a small video monitor.
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Beneath their film, an anamorphic floor drawing flattens out an imaginary dome and stretches out its geometric pattern to tweak perception. The image brings to mind a piece of unfolded origami.
Kline and Molina are both talents to keep a watch on, and Delgado is delivering a distinctive vision at his space in Little Havana. He's quietly offering a smart alternative to the increasingly commercial climate of Wynwood.
"Dome Drift" through October 14th at 6th Street Container (1155 SW 6th St. in rear, Miami.) Free to the public. Call 786-587-5279 or visit 6thstreetcontainer.com.