Title of the work: Provisional Obstruction, Miami Beach
Duration: Art Basel Miami (before, during and after)
Commissioned by: Art in Public Places, Miami Beach Government, Department of Cultural Affairs.
Location: The Catalina, Miami
Provisional Obstruction is a series of collaborative works with Miami-based artist misael soto, which began in Chicago in 2017. The public installations use everyday rental scaffolding as a sculptural element, and banner-sized imagery installed along the facades of relevant and historically significant temporary or permanent structures. The series, which began in 2017 in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago and continued in Little Haiti, Miami, in 2019, involves site-specific architectural, infrastructural, and community-based research which is then applied aesthetically to formulate the shape of the scaffolding, and inform the content of the images that are fastened to the scaffold’s skeletal framework.
This iteration of “Provisional Obstruction,” is located at the historical Catalina hotel, built in 1948 in Miami Modern style. On this occasion we launched our research with the Catalina Hotel as a starting point. A classic Miami Modern hotel from the 1950’s, this pivotal era of Miami Beach development inspired us both formally and critically. The form of the scaffold takes a direct homage to the modernist towers of the era (many right across Collins Avenue), as well as in the archival images selected from the State Library and Archives of Florida, all carefully chosen, cropped, and placed on the scaffolding. A reflective and self-reflexive visual and critical exercise is the intended experience, with a literal undercurrent of rising water throughout. The hotel is located in an area that is projected to be under 4 feet of water by 2030 due to climate change, the work will be addressing this and the hotel's plans toward protecting its building from future catastrophe.
The banner images, made of colloquial/typical advertising material, will display images that construct a life-size scene of the hotel’s past, taking its viewers into a space that may or may not have known before. The work is performative, its transience and dysfunction are amplified by the way people interact with it, including its installers, viewers, everyday passersby, and intentionally placed actors.
Programming for this work included a public conversation with architecture historian Jean-François Lejeune of the University of Miami at the scaffold, during which a discussion about Miami Beach zoning and development was had, relating this to national and international cycles of development of the last century.
Provisional Obstruction (Miami Beach) was made possible by the support of the City of Miami Beach and was part of the city’s second edition of No Vacancy, a juried art competition inviting the public to experience Miami Beach’s famed hotels as destination art spaces.