A Look at Last Night’s Inaugural Faena Festival

A Look at Last Night’s Inaugural Faena Festival


Faena Festival During Miami Art Week (December 3-9, 2018): This Is Not America
Features Commissions, Installations, Videos, and Performances by Derrick Adams,
Cecilia Bengolea, Isabel Lewis, Wu Tsang and boychild, Luna Paiva, George SánchezCalderón,
Tavares Strachan, Miya Ando, Boris Mitić, Ana Teresa Fernández, Eugene
Jarecki, Joseph Beuys, Alfredo Jaar, and Agustina Woodgate and the Rev. Houston R.

Miami Beach, FL (November 8, 2018) – Faena Art announced today additional information on its commissions and programs for its inaugural multidisciplinary festival that will be presented during Miami Art Week. Running from December 3 through 9, 2018, the Faena Festival: This Is Not America, is keyed to Miami’s enduring role as a port that welcomes migrants, refugees, and tourists from across the U.S. and the Americas, and from countries throughout the world. The festival engages with the multiplicity of communities and cultures and the palimpsest of histories that have created the Americas while responding specifically to Miami as its hemispheric hub. All programming is free and open to the public.

“It has always been my dream to have our international cultural festival—a polyphonic platform to amplify voices and bring together practitioners from different artistic fields. Artists are not limited by geopolitical divides, so in this inaugural edition we’ve decided to explore diverse interpretations of the Americas, what unifies and ultimately connects us. Each future edition will have a unique theme, organized under a different concept that I personally find relevant and will develop working in collaboration with the worlds most recognized and emerging talents, artists, thinkers, and curators,” stated Alan Faena.

A series of newly commissioned installations and performances will explore how we choose to define our sense of place in ways that encourage dynamic identities that transcend—and even
resist—the imposition of physical, historical, and political borders. The Festival proposes a new curatorial format for presentation that occupies and engages the entire Faena District and
extends beyond into public spaces of the city of Miami Beach as an experiential platform. The diverse venues of the Faena District Miami Beach will be activated, including the public areas of the street and beach; the Faena Hotel, including its theater and screening room; and Faena Forum—the OMA-designed cultural centerpiece of Faena District Miami Beach.

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Organized by Zoe Lukov, Curator for Faena Art, This Is Not America is anchored by Alfredo Jaar’s groundbreaking work, A Logo for America, and features major new commissions of installations and performances by renowned artists, including:

• Derrick Adams’ America’s Playground, a site-specific immersive installation that responds to the history and urban development of Miami in the Jim Crow south—especially in relation to ownership, real estate and urban planning in the neighborhood of Overtown. Drawing upon his research into the “Green Book,” as well as Miami’s role as “The Playground of the America’s,” and overlooked urban development parallels, Adams will create an interactive playground installation on the Faena Beach. The work is a reference to the playgrounds built for children in the historic black community of Overtown in Miami, which were deliberately placed out of sight and underneath the freeways that were themselves built in the 1960s in the name of modernism and urban renewal, but that ultimately destroyed many of these same neighborhoods—a story that has repeated in cities all over America. Faena Beach. Monday, December 3 – Sunday, December 9, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

• Cecilia Bengolea’s site-specific installation and performance La mujer que se disfrazaba como esponja para bailar al fondo del mar: Hommage al Mar is created for the Faena Forum in collaboration with the Caribbean and Miami communities of street,  strip, and folkloric religious dancers. Nancy St. Leger, a traditional Afro-Haitian dancer and teacher, is a guest choreographer and Narsha Cummings, a West African dancer, drummer, and teacher, collaborates with her group of children and adult performers. In this piece, the multiple dance and music genres share a practice of spiritual street dance which hinges on the intersection of the sacred and profane. Converting the Forum into a contemporary temple, the choreography is an embodied language that becomes the memory, the archive, and a proposal for the future—a dance of hybrid bodies and sponges, the first animal to appear on earth. Faena Forum. Monday, December 3 at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. and Tuesday, December 4 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

• Isabel Lewis will host An Occasion, a celebratory gathering of things, people, plants, dances, and scent. Lewis unfolds a specific dramaturgy attuned to her guests and their energies shaping a live experience using choreography, music, spoken address, and storytelling in ways that allow for conversation, contemplation, dancing, listening, or just simply being. She creates an aesthetic situation that moves beyond the merely visual where the entire human sensorium is addressed. Lewis poses the question of how to live a good and flourishing life in tempestuous times and proposes the figures of the lover, the dancer, and the gardener as guides on this quest. Lewis will be joined in the performance by local dancers. Faena Forum Amphitheater. Monday, December 3 at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. and Tuesday, December 4 at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

• Wu Tsang, a 2018 MacArthur Fellow, with long-term collaborator boychild, has been commissioned to create a new site-specific performance-film project for the cabaret-style Faena Theater. The two-act performance, entitled Love is a rebellious bird, takes the tensions of colonialism, diaspora, and “otherness” as starting points, particularly within the context of Miami’s opulence and decadence, and navigates the overlapping legacies of cabaret and drag. The live performance will be the culmination of a one-week residency, consisting of filming in the Faena Theater and other areas of the Faena Hotel. Faena Theater at the Faena Hotel. Monday, December 3 at 10:30 p.m.

• Luna Paiva’s A Matter of Time is an immersive environment that allows viewers to move within the remnants of a typical home or cabin—the leftovers memorialized in bronze: a chimney, plastic picnic chairs, curtains, and carpet. Luna’s shimmering objects are outside of time, a threshold between past and future, a reflection on quickly fading symbols and mythology around the “American Dream”. An archeological meditation, the installation is a vision of what remains after everything else is stripped away. These artifacts of comfort and solidity seemingly become the contents of a shipwreck, or what is left after an apocalyptic storm. Faena Beach. Monday, December 3 – Sunday, December 9, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

• George Sánchez-Calderón will present How to Win Friends and Influence People, a facsimile of the “Cape Cod” model home from Levittown, NY. In 1947, the Levittown development ushered in a new era emblematic of the “American Dream” and is considered to be the first suburban community built in the United States. The house will be set ablaze on December 4th, a day associated with Saint Barbara, who in Cuban Yoruba traditions is syncretized with the orisha Changó (Shangó), God of thunder, lightning, and wars. Given the recent fires in California, the house becomes a symbol of displacement, a ritual healing, and reminder of the intertwined relationship between urban development and climate change.

Faena Beach. Monday, December 3 – Sunday, December 9, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Ritual burn on Tuesday, December 4 at 5:30 p.m.

• Tavares Strachan, winner of the 2018 Frontier Art Prize, has created We Belong Here, a new neon work for the Faena District. The phrase is an affirmation and veiled question that, in referencing the iconic neon signage of Miami’s deco drive, is a reclamation of belonging that asks us to reimagine how we define place—and this place in particular. Strachan’s neon signage contextualizes Miami as the potentially quintessential American city, given its role as a sanctuary, or place of refuge, for cultures and communities from around the world, and as a bridge between North and South America.

Faena Beach. Monday, December 3 – Sunday, December 9, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

• Miya Ando’s Sora Versailles is large-scale, site-specific commission that will transform the iconic Versailles hotel within the Faena District, in response to the building’s history. Examining perception and permanence, the historic Versailles will be transformed into the sky itself—the installation investigates one’s relationship to time as sunset and sunrise are depicted on the four sides of the building, creating the appearance of the building disappearing and becoming transparent at certain moments of the day, while providing a cinematic and dramatic backdrop to city life at others. Ando pays homage to the building’s original architect Roy France’s design philosophy of “let in the air and sun” as she wraps one of Miami’s most iconic buildings in clouds. Versailles hotel. Visible all day from public space on Collins Avenue and on 34th street.

A special video sector in the festival will include:
1. Boris Mitić’s This is Not Nothing (2018), an impressionistic collection of documentary shots of ‘Nothing’ from around the world.
2. Ana Teresa Fernández’s Borrando la Frontera (Erasing the Border, 2011), a documentation of her performance painting the metal dividers of the Mexican border wall.
3. Eugene Jarecki’s Promised Land, a kaleidoscopic journey shot while crossing the USA in Elvis Presley’s 1963 Rolls Royce.
4. Wu Tsang’s Wildness, an award-winning documentary about the Silver Platter, a historic bar that is home to Latinx and immigrant transgender communities in Los Angeles. Special screening on Saturday, December 8 at 6 p.m.
5. Joseph Beuys’ renowned I Like America and America Likes Me (1974), a recorded performance in which he spent several days with a coyote in a New York gallery space. Described as a “dialogue” with the animal, the performance presented Beuys as a shaman—a spiritual leader and healer who has a special affinity with animals—who traveled to the United States to enact a symbolic reconciliation between modern American society, the natural world, and Native American culture.
Faena Hotel Screening Room. Shown on continuous loop throughout the Festival, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Special screenings: Boris Mitić’s Once Upon a Nothing on Thursday, December 6 at 6 p.m. and Eugene Jarecki’s The King on Friday, December 7 at 6 p.m.

• Alfredo Jaar’s iconic work A Logo for America (1987/2018) will be displayed on a ‘jumbotron’ LED billboard on an advertising boat that typically showcases ads for bars and clubs. The work features the statement “This is not America” displayed across a map of the United States. Jaar draws attention to the fact that the name America is routinely applied erroneously to just one of the two American continents. The work will be launched in front of the Faena Hotel on the evening of December 3 for the Faena Festival grand inauguration. For the rest of the week the boat will be on the move along Miami Beach as a reminder that we can co-exist across geopolitical boundaries, bound by our similarities of history and culture, as opposed to divisions based on borders and walls. As Miami has become known as “the gateway to the Americas,” the work urges a reimagining of the ways we choose to define ourselves, what we choose as our “American” identity and how this definition can be diverse and inclusive to the multiplicities of cultures and traditions maintained upon this connected American continent. Visible from Miami Beach throughout the week. Monday, 5 p.m. – midnight. Tuesday –
Friday, 2 p.m. – 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

• Agustina Woodgate and Rev. Houston R. Cypress, an artistic activist and ordained minister of the Mickosuckee, together propose Flow, a conceptual project that explores the possibilities for a new crypto-currency for Abya Yala—the name given to the Americas by the indigenous peoples of Panama and Colombia. Their project is based on each artists’ investigations together and separately into decolonizing currency, addressing the effects of urban development on our lands and the climate, and the nature of national identity and how it pertains to the graphic design of banknote. Land Acknowledgement with sound performance Friday, December 7 at 5 p.m.  “This is Not America addresses America as concept more than a place, a contested and powerful
idea that is greater than the waters and borders that frame it,” noted Ms. Lukov. “Artists in the Festival have been invited to explore the concept of America as a myth and a narrative that has
at times bound and divided us but ultimately has the power to unify. By occupying the interstitial zone between land and sea many of these site-specific installations seek to reimagine porous and transitional spaces as places of refuge and safe harbor that are representative of what our ‘America’ is and can become. Miami as the iconic city of the Americas—its gateway, its sanctuary, and its playground—is the ideal place from which to speak to new ways of defining ourselves, our communities, and our global identity.”

Faena Festival is supported by Perrier-Jouët. More information is available at www.faenafestival.com.

About Faena Art
FAENA ART is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that houses and produces post-disciplinary and time-based experiences. A catalyst for innovative, site-specific, and immersive creative practices, FAENA ART is a transformative bridge across the Americas, between the south and the north, the popular and the experimental, activism and research. FAENA ART fosters new models for performative social interaction that transcend the traditional boundaries of art, science, philosophy, and social practice.

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