Miami's crown jewel, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), has launched a series of time-based art installations, which debuted last week at the museum's bayfront home.
"Waves" is a series of specially commissioned, collaborative performances by musicians, visual artists, and multimedia filmmakers interested in exploring the intersection of music and art in the 21st Century. The installation is meant to transport the viewer from what is usually an individual experience -- watching a musician's interpretation of his sound on the web -- into an immersive, 3D experience that highlights the necessity of sound in such an encounter.
The series kicked off Thursday with The Waiting Room in DJ Hell, a collaboration among Daniel Fisher of Physical Therapy, cartoonist Gobby, and sculptor Jeffrey Joyal. Fisher, who initiated the concept, was attempting to illustrate what a DJ's personal hell may look like. Drawing from influences such as Beetlejuice's waiting room and a "Far Side" cartoon featuring Beethoven and an orchestra of banjos, Fisher envisioned "a tropical waiting room with strobing lights for eternity and no drink tickets."
Joyal and Gobby helped bring that vision to life using their own experiences in Miami as a means to localize the concept and create a sort of Miami purgatory. Joyal suspended a flamingo carcass on a pedestal and outfitted the room with reclaimed furniture, indoor plants, and art-deco-inspired lamps straight out of the 1980s, which he sourced from local thrift shops. Gobby's illustration of a horned devil, pierced in every orifice possible and multiplied and inverted scores of times to create wallpaper, served as Fisher's backdrop, along with framed photos drawn by the cartoonist reminding us that "Patience" was necessary.
The lamps flickered on and off throughout the performance, and Fisher played tracks from his upcoming record, The Waiting Room in DJ Hell. Though the music was arguably the star of the installation, absolutely no one was dancing in the near-empty theater space. DJ hell.
Fisher is a regular on the club circuit and has worked museum gigs only during parties. The artist has a preference for creating unique visuals to accompany his sound in videos and press packets, and this project was clearly an opportunity for Fisher to visualize his album in 3D. Joyal bases his practice on an investigation of time, durability, and decay through life casting, as a means of altering reality and giving a new narrative to a version of truth. His flamingo sought to be a centerpiece for "weird" Miami; the bird represents Miami's transformation from a lazy, swampy utopia into a global center of commerce.
Gobby, who regularly collaborates with Fisher, bases his work on "twisted and hyper-sexualized narratives" -- certainly illustrated here and likely his own take on Miami. As a whole, the experience felt a bit contrived rather than illustrative of an entire concept, which judging by the upcoming installations that form "Waves," was probably just an issue of a learning curve.
Those upcoming "Waves" performances include an R&B opera with multimedia projections involving tsunami waves and digital storms, a film by artist Jacolby Satterwhite starring Miami-based rapper Trina, and a choreographed production featuring tinsel-clad dancers and vocals by Brooklyn-based Helado Negro. "Waves" is free with museum admission.
Waves is on view through May 14. For a detailed schedule of upcoming WAVES installations, visit pamm.org.
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