The Earth We Inhabit

Get some cafe con leche and prepare to work the Night Shift.

If Sleepless Nights, the multimedia, annual arts fest on Miami Beach, seems overwhelming, try beginning your long evening at the Bass Museum of Art for Night Shift. The exhibition was curated by Jerome Sans, former co-director of Palais de Tokyo, a contemporary art center in Paris. Sans will be spinning the soundtrack of the festivities, which promises impressive spectacles by Jim Drain and Brooke O-Harra, Julie Kahn, Nicolas Lobo, Ernesto Oroza and Gean Moreno, Tom Scicluna, Frances Trombly and multimedia performer Christy Gast.

Gast’s sculpture on display, The Earth We Inhabit, resembles a planet on its axis. The impressive work was inspired by Koreshan Unity, a utopian artists’ community located in the wilds of western Florida from 1894 through the 1960s. The group believed that the earth was hollow and that the universe existed on the inside. Members attempted to prove this all while performing plays and printing illustrations. The sculpture is reminiscent of Koreshan didactic 3-D models which demonstrated their cosmological perspective.

Gast collaborated with choreographer Ana Mendez to actualize and further the concept through a performance and dance. Four dancers move about like nymphs, acting out a sort of playful cosmic drama. The show is sexy and quirky, reminiscent of a circus performance. Over the sound of organ music, Gast acts as a sort of master of ceremonies, guiding the dancers with words of Koreshan leader, Cyrus Reed Teed. Her chosen passages of Teed’s text are illustrative of the commune’s romantic, though scientifically skewed, ideology. Sewn by the artist, the dancers’ petticoats are embroidered on the underside with the Koreshan cosmological diagrams. Gast attends to every detail in a way that is lyrical and intelligent.

The graceful dancers include Ana Mendez, Liza Carmona, Rosie Herrera, and Ivonne Batanero. Make sure not to miss the enchanting, moonlit performance at 9 p.m., located at the Bass on the grass on the south side of the museum.

Read more of Liz Tracy's Miami missives on her blog, Miami, bro.

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