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Let's Make the Water Turn Black: Learn About Geoffrey Farmer's Freaky Puppet Figures at PAMM

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Geoffrey Farmer is a Canadian installation artist, recognized for his collage work and his references to artists of the early 20th Century and Dadaism movement. He's also taken a theatrical approach to his installs and the museum/gallery-going experience in general. Born in the back end of the turbulent '60s, Farmer's ideology was formed by the excess and prior-decade examination of the '70s and '80s.

The significance of the '60s being an alluring era he had just missed violently clashes in his work with what are clear linear anchors to the MTV and Atari generation. His installation-based works combine any number of rudiments, from hands-on techniques like drawing and sculpture to digital video and photography. Farmer uses the performative and found objects as a way to recreate a proscenium within the brick and mortar context of the exhibition space, be it a museum or gallery.

Farmer's sense of theatricality is devoid of an actual ingrained performance but rather has the potential for the installation itself and the crowd that interacts with it to become the suggested "play" being performed.

See also: Leonor Antunes' PAMM Installation Is an Airy Interpretation of South Florida

The title of the installation, Let's Make the Water Turn Black has been appropriated by Farmer as homage to his predilection for Frank Zappa's music but the direct connection ends there -- though it could be argued that more than just an admiration for the man's enduring musical influence on the American musical landscape, Farmer's taken the whole experimental/avant garde lesson into his own motherly inventions.

For this talk, Farmer will bring context to his installation at the Pérez Art Museum Miami with an arsenal of sound clips and video footage to show the particular set of influences that culminate within it, like the surrealist art of the 1920s, to his beloved counterculture movement and music of the '60s.

This theatrical installation, like past ones, involves found objects transformed into a grotesque, mysterious and sinister environment for puppet-like figures that are kinetically choreographed. These in turn become the performative aspect of the work as a whole, with the added feature of it being dependant on the space afforded to him by the museum itself -- lending itself as an extension of Farmer's interpretations of architectural and cultural contexts.

This exhibit will be on display from October 9 through March 1, 2015. Seating is limited and will be first come, first seated. There will be a cash bar and a DJ set of related music by artist Kevin Arrow on the waterfront terrace until 9 p.m.

Geoffrey Farmer: Let's Make the Water Turn Black; Artist Talk at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 9, at Pérez Art Museum Miami. Free with museum admission. Call 305-375-3000 or visit pamm.org.

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