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Artist Eleonora Fabião Turns Conversations Into Street Performance
Felipe Ribeiro

Artist Eleonora Fabião Turns Conversations Into Street Performance

Enigmatic, Brazilian-born artist Eleonora Fabião is more than a mere street performer. She is an explorer of the poetics of random encounters with strangers, which, in turn, informs her art and performance. Fabião, who has performed on streets across the globe, including Brazil, the United States, Peru, Colombia, and Germany, will present her performance-as-social-interaction, I Will Have a Conversation About Any Subject (or, Converso Sobre Cualquier Asunto), in Little Havana, downtown Miami, and South Beach this week.

In I Will Have a Conversation About Any Subject, presented by Museum of Art + Design at Miami Dade College (MOAD MDC), Fabião will sit barefoot in a chair, facing an empty chair, while displaying a handwritten sign that reads, “I will have a conversation about any subject.” From that point, the art will take shape; interactions with passersby will form the performances.

“The experience a person [attending the performance] will have depends on the choices he or she will make,” Fabião says. “And my own experiences will be radically influenced by each person’s choices. In general, I am in search of decelerating spectacularity and accelerating relationality.”

As an artist, Fabião has always shown interest in what she calls “the poetics and ethics of the strange, of the encounter, of precariousness." She has taken her performance work to events and venues including Performa 15 in New York in 2015 and the Centro Municipal de Arte Hélio Oiticica and the Museu Bispo do Rosáriovv in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. In 2011, she received the Arts in the Streets Award from the Brazilian National Foundation of the Arts and the Rumos Itaú Cultural Grant in 2014, which resulted in the publication of the book Ações/Actions. She is also a professor at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in the Theater Directing Undergraduate Program and the Arts of the Scene Graduate Program, where she chairs the artistic experimentation wing.

I Will Have a Conversation About Any Subject was a work she conceived and first performed in Brazil in 2008. At the time, Fabião says, her hometown of Rio de Janeiro was a city in the midst of sociopolitical turmoil. From that strife, she took her cue to step out of the normal spaces an artist might perform her art, and hit the streets to see where the art itself might take her.

“I decided to go and relate with my fellow citizens very directly,” she says about those early days of the show. “I was searching for ways to revert a context of fear and violence via performance art. So I decided to leave the white cube and the black box and go to the multicolored streets to have conversations with whoever wanted to talk to me.”

The three-day work, which Fabião has dubbed Triptych Miami, will also include the interestingly titled lecture-performance An Encounter at the New World School of the Arts, 25 N.E. Second St., Building 5, Second Floor, Room 5217, Latitude: 25°46' N, Longitude: 80°11' W, Moon 62% Illuminated, which will explore Fabião’s craft and practice. Her workshop with young artists, called Performance Art, Artistic Strategies, and Political Imagination, will culminate Saturday with Light Cloud, a performance realized in collaboration with the workshop participants in downtown Miami. It’s all part of the museum's series Living Together, which will take place at sites across greater Miami through September and will include works by 17 acclaimed national and international artists, art collectives, musicians, and writers. Living Together includes performances, exhibitions, film and video screenings, readings, talks, and workshops that reflect the cultural, social, and political realities of how we live now.

“I hope we will celebrate and valorize strangeness as a poetical and political potency,” Fabião says. “I hope we will open together a performative field of encounters to share experiences, to ask ourselves what actions generate the cities where we want to live and — who knows? — be stimulated to perform them.”

I Will Have a Conversation About Any Subject/Converso Sobre Cualquier Asunto. 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, January 22, at Domino Park, 10620 SW Seventh Ter., Miami. 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, January 23, at Government Center, 111 NW First St., Miami. 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, January 24, on Lincoln Road, Miami Beach; 305-237-7700; mdcmoad.org. Admission is free.

An Encounter at the New World School of the Arts, 25 N.E. Second St., Building 5, Second Floor, Room 5217, Latitude: 25°46' N, Longitude: 80°11' W, Moon 62% Illuminated. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 25, at New World School of the Arts, 25 NE Second St., Building 5, second floor, room 5217; 305-237-7700; mdcmoad.org. Admission is free.

Light Cloud. 6:30 p.m. Saturday, January 27, at New World School of the Arts, 25 NE Second St., Miami; 305-237-7700; mdcmoad.org. Admission is free.

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