87. Christy Gast

In honor of our People Issue, which will hit newsstands and computer screens November 25, Cultist proudly presents "100 Creatives," where we feature Miami's cultural superheroes in random order. Have suggestions for future profiles? Email [email protected] with the whos and whys.

87. Christy Gast

Artist Christy Gast is pretty much good at everything. She's a sculptor, a video and performance artist, and an adventurer. Raised in Ohio, she attended Colombia University, worked in Pensacola as a professor, and constructed stunning artwork in Moab, Utah. Her art tells the kind of stories that inspire one to go out into the world and do something special. Gast's creations are mechanical and

musical, and her sculptures have a certain life of their own.

They're also informed by her surroundings and often reference folktales and fascinating historical nuggets. Now that Gast is living in Miami, her artwork takes a look at interesting local histories. For instance, last year's The Earth We Inhabit explored the Koreshan Unity, a community of Floridian art lovers who believed that we live inside the earth.

Batty Cave
Batty Cave, her recent solo exhibition at Gallery Diet, showed a projection of a video against a large wooden structure. The film displayed Gast's hands moving small found objects, creating mobile sculptures with them. The objects were left behind by two men who hid out in the desert cave, and who, unlike Noah, waited on a huge flood that never came.

Other times, Gast looks at the histories of women and politics as in her Lady Presidential Candidates Commemorative Plates, in which portraits of the first women to run for U.S. president appear painted on plates. Her upcoming project Herbert Hoover Dyke will open at the De La Cruz Collection on November 30.

1. List five things that inspire you.

-Public land
-Word play
-Cute archeologists
-Tierra del Fuego 
-Barbara Hammer

2. What was your last big project?

A multi-channel video installation called Batty Cave, which I showed at Gallery Diet earlier this year. The video and sculptures in the show were inspired by a remote desert mountain in Utah where two men who were expecting a flood of Biblical proportions built an ark in a cave and waited for the day they'd be the last guys on earth. I wrote and sang (in a crackly man's voice) some folk songs that hinted at the narrative, and made something of an animation using rocks, broken glass and bits of rusty metal I found on site, which also provided a tinkling soundtrack. The boat, made of completely impossible materials, is still in the cave. 

3. What's your next big project?

I just wrapped up shooting a video called Herbert Hoover Dyke on the Herbert Hoover Dike, an enormous earthen mound that controls water flow out of Lake Okeechobee. It involves me tap dancing around the entire lake in a tuxedo, with various sculptural props. The video and sculptures will be at the De La Cruz Collection in December. 

4. Why do you do what you do?

I have a deep and burning need to get out of town and look at the outskirts, the underskirts, and the infrastructure. 

5. What's something you want Miami to know about you? What's something you don't want Miami to know about you? 

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Liz Tracy has written for publications such as the New York Times, the Atlantic, Refinery29, W, Glamour, and, of course, Miami New Times. She was New Times Broward-Palm Beach's music editor for three years. Now she plays one mean monster with her 2-year-old son and obsessively watches British mysteries.
Contact: Liz Tracy