The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Gabriel Forestieri and Marla Phelan of ProjectLIMB say that their mission is to connect humans to their environment through site-specific dance performances. Next week, ProjectLIMB will reconnect South Floridians to Miami Beach with their site-specific performance "Re-Vision" at Lummus Park on Thursday, January 10 through Sunday January 13 at 8 p.m. The performance will use beach, sand and, most importantly, lighting to illuminate the performers as they make their way from the street to the sea. I had a chance to interview Marla Phelan to find out who they are and what they hope to bring to light on Miami Beach.
Neil de la Flor: Who are you? Marla Phelan: We are people who are obsessed with the body. The body is our lens through which we view and experience the world. It is through dance that we are able to touch our essential nature, which is being in relation with the world. When we dance we become conscious of these relationships, and then reveal them through our expression.
More specifically, we are Gabriel Forestieri and Marla Phelan, dance artists from New York City. Marla was born and raised in Miami Beach and Gabriel’s family are recent arrivals. We are looking to make Miami a home for ProjectLIMB.
ND: Re-vision is partially about chance and giving each other a chance, but does chance really exist as a thing or is really about intent, i.e. the intent to go out into the world and, as a result, open oneself up to the possibility of meeting someone or discovering something new? MP: The intent is a readiness of spirit and mind. The opening itself can be considered a grace, something beyond the bounds of our control. We can strive to be most available to this grace but in the end it is not ours to bestow. This is where chance or randomness enters. Who knows what all of our identities contain, we are changed by each of our encounters and relationships. No person is an isolated event, a person can create a cataclysmic change in another, just by the shifting of the two beings as they relate. As Brain Swimme wrote: relationships are like plate tectonics who knows when we might create a California.
ND: If a relationship is tumultuous, is it really a relationship? MP: Everything is in relation – if there is tumultuousness, and there is, then it is because of relationship. If we speak personally, then the opening of one’s life to another requires compromise, daily. Conflict is the creator of all things – how long did the ocean beat the rocks to create the sand. Entire species lived and died so we could have an oxygenated atmosphere. All human relationships have contexts, which began far before humans arrived. The creation of the galaxies, the planets, the evolution of life; these are tumultuous things, they are our ancestors, and denying this aspect of relationship, will never take us to the fulfillment/harmony of our relationships.
ND: Hmmm....conflict is the creator of things. I'm taking notes. Curious, why stage the performance at Lummus Park? MP: It was a compromise. Lummus Park is the beach and a very public space. All things we wanted to celebrate about Miami. It’s a space that seems familiar to natives and tourists alike. We want to instill wonder in its inhabitants and its visitors by transforming their perceptions of a space everyone knows. Lummus Park is perfect because of it’s broad range of visitors, who will have never seen the space the way in which we re-vision it.
ND: Light, despite all its brilliance, depends on us to power it. What will happen if the lights go out? MP: The show must go on.
ProjectLIMB, “Re-Vision” (site-specific dance performance), January 10-13 at 8 p.m., at Lummus Park (on 14th Street), Miami Beach. Contact Marla Phelan at 305-308-8527 for more information. For tickets, email ProjectLIMB@gmail.com. Cost: $15 suggested donation.