In one of the gallery’s final shows before its forced relocation from their downtown Miami space, Dimensions Variable will present Voleur (thief), a two-day performance by artists Jamilah Sabur and Andy Robert. Voleur (thief) builds on the themes explored in Dimensions Variable’s recent exhibition, Sounds Like, in which artists explored the intersection of language and sound in connection with the way our minds identify what’s before us.
It’s fitting that Sabur was called upon to comment on Sounds Like because her practice often explores the unconscious mind. But contrary to the buzzing, familiar tones of the sculptural objects featured in Sounds Like, Sabur is focusing on an even more deafening noise: the sound of silence, a space in which the artist feels
Sabur and Robert will play a game of mancala for two hours, while enacting roles of prisoner and guard. The performance is meant to draw the viewer into the subtle, slow movement of gameplay, hoping to induce a state of revelry in which the mind drifts freely, only to be drawn back in by the sounds of the seeds used to play the game.
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The game of mancala, known in some cultures as “count-and-capture,” is a reference and tribute to works by Marie Vieux-Chauvet, a Haitian novelist, poet, and playwright. “I was particularly inspired by the third book of her trilogy [Love, Anger, Madness] called Madness, a thinly veiled narrative on Haitian dictator François Duvalier explored through a political prisoner and poet named René,” Sabur said. “While in a hypothetical day-dream Voleur will place the character René as a boy, in fear and in hiding, playing a game of mancala (voleur in creole) with the “devil's soldier.”
Voleur (thief)’s mixed-media installation will include painting (contributed by Robert), photography, video, and performance works. While Sounds Like is no longer on view, one piece will remain in the gallery as part of the dialogue with Voleur – artist Tom Scicluna’s air conditioning, a symbol of economic waste and a stark contrast to the simplicity of the game of mancala.
Long known as one of Miami’s most celebrated alternative art spaces, Dimensions Variable is shuttering its downtown Miami space, but not its doors: The gallery has already lined up several artists for 2016, despite a formal announcement of the gallery’s new location. Its last exhibition in their current home, Elizabeth Withstandley’s two-channel video installation featuring the 82 current and former members of symphonic rock band The Polyphonic Spree, will open in September.