Here & Now Fest Returns With Shiva, Shamans, and Sex Reassignment

Ritualistic writing, interdisciplinary theater, phosphorescent paintings, and sexual reassignment surgery come together to form the backbone for the 15th annual Here & Now: 2014, A Knight Emerging Artist Series. Here & Now is where and when the Miami Light Project commissions new performance work by innovative South Florida artists. The 2014 performance line-up includes Letty Bassart, Abel Cornejo, Ana Mendez, David Rohn, Danilo de la Torre, and Juan Carlos Zaldivar.

The pieces involve varied process of development and eclectic influences.

See also: Photos from Here & Now 2012

Zaldivar's interactive exhibition, "Hesperus is Phosphorus," has been months in the making. The installation consists of a series of phosphorescent paintings on glass that re-contextualizes popular figures from classical and baroque iconography, reinvents their surroundings, alters their forms, and compares them to the dualistic nature of Shiva, one of the supreme Hindu deities. Shiva, who has seemingly contradictory nature being both benevolent and violent, is revered as both the destroyer and the transformer. Each phosphorescent painting, when directly illuminated, is an act of discovery, a revelation of the dualities within that emerge from the process of illumination.

Homegrown performance artists, collaborators, and culture creators David Rohn and Danilo de la Torre tackle sex reassignment surgery in their surrealistic theatrical work, "Sexual Offenders." Using voice and unconventional movements, "Sexual Offenders" walks the audience through highly complex issues associated of gender identity, which is too often stereotyped, oversimplified, and conflated with sexual orientation. The work, which delineates the line between these two concepts, examines the life of a Florida Keys man who decides to move forward with his transition. As a father, husband, and government official, his body becomes both the geographical locus and mirror upon which his family's and community's fears are faced.

Here & Now also features "Unnamable" from Letty Bassart, an original work based on the consequences of anonymity and cyberspace. Abel Cornejo's "UTOPIA D2H" uses the hijacking of commercial jets between the United States and Cuba to make a critique of utopian ideals, while Ana Mendez' "Portal" takes us on a shamanic journey where past, present and future collapse into one.

"We are so proud to celebrate 15 years of creative development for Miami's performing artist community," says Beth Boone, Miami Light Project's artistic and executive director. "Here & Now has become Miami Light Project's signature artistic program, and it's an annual celebration of homegrown creativity. The artists commissioned this year are a unique representation of style, perspective, and imagination, and we can't wait to see their final creations."

But these performances are not just final creations. They're tunnels into the creative minds and spirits of Miami artists. They reveal the community, showing us the talent we've got running around this concrete jungle. And the best thing about Here & Now: there's no excuse to miss a show. They run over a two-week period starting this Thursday and ending Saturday, May 17th.

Miami Light Project presents Here & Now: 2014, A Knight Emerging Artist Series, running Thursday through Saturday for two weeks, at 8 p.m., a The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, 404 NW 26 Street, Miami. Tickets cost $10. Visit miamilightproject.com or web.ovationtix.com.

--Neil de la Flor, artburstmiami.com

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