How many times have you been to a group exhibition and wondered why the curators, or artists as a group, wanted to bring together the art they did? When a freeform exhibition / event like the 3rd Collabo Show took place on Saturday evening, 25th July, 2009, held at 85 NW 71st street in a warehouse owned by Miami Spaces. We could come away from this event feeling that something good clicked and that satisfying choices were made, even if in a "freeform" manner. The Collabo Show was more than an exhibition, it was an event with art, sound, video, multimedia (projected images and sound) and, even two bmx ramps.
This Saturday evening in Little River (northernmost part of Little Haiti within Miami's city limits) inside the cinder block walls of a 25 ft. ceiling warehouse brought together some 20+ artists, musicians and even more of their friends. (Being a musician, one should be constantly aware of volume changes when the density of humans is there to muffle, bounce, and deaden the sound waves. Either the equipment didn't function as planned or, the planned volume was louder than a noisy nightclub, and that's really loud. Eventually, it was dialed back to something reasonable so that we could actually communicate without yelling in each other's ears.)
And, "freeform" doesn't mean disarray (in this case). Because there were no walls, other than the four walls supporting the roof, we could walk around and check out the various things that were "placed around" for us, such as the bobcat bathed in strobe light while "singing" his screeching howl. It had a strange sense of humor after hearing the howling constantly for a couple of hours. In reality, this event seemed more about having a good time. When artists choose to come together to collaborate it is oftentimes a challenge, as well as it can be a pleasure.
Amidst all the noise and humor was the one thing that constantly pulls people (artists) to Miami and that is space. Space to work, to live, to create. Space is architectural, sociological, political, and cultural. These artists and musicians chose to reject the white cubic space because (art) space is also contextual. There was an attempt to create a unique chamber of everyday aesthetics and reject the mystique of the reified (white) experimental laboratory. And, as in all experiments, some pass and some fail. "Things become art in a space where powerful ideas about art focus on them.," Brian O'Doherty.
It would be unfair to couch the entire event in the rhetorical language of critique. This is not the first collaborative event organized by Miami artists Bhakti Baxter and Jason Hedges, their first event was, Co-Operate, at Bas Fisher Invitational and the second, Confluence, at Frederic Snitzer Gallery. However, every such event does get critiqued in its own way by the attendees. And then, as a freeform event, how different was it from other like events organized by non-artists? Of course, just about everyone from every walk in life calls themselves artists these days.
Don't get the idea that belittling this event is what is going on here. What I am pointing at is how some earlier trends have caught on in other parts of Miami. And, one doesn't want to go back too far in history to show ones age, because even this old man knew a trend before most of the participants were alive. The psychedelic 60s seems like a long time ago but, some of what was then a trend is old hat today.