The Sweat Records mural and Psychic Youth, Inc
O n December 20th a mural rendered by Miami based performance artists Federico Nessi and Dino Felipe was unveiled at Sweat Records. The unveiling coincided with the store’s annual ‘Stocking Stuffer’ event and Death Of An Xmas Party, a gothic themed music and performance night organized by Nessi at Churchill’s, a sort-of-English themed bar that abuts Sweat Records on NE 2nd Avenue.
Sweat Records commissioned the untitled mural (pictured above and below) from Nessi, whose previous contributions to the store’s décor had been stolen during a break-in on September 14th. Despite being represented locally by Spinello Gallery, Nessi has recently been focusing on instigating and participating in various collaborative non-commercial performance projects with Miami-based collective, Psychic Youth, Inc. The collective, of which Dino Felipe is also a part, is comprised of a growing number of Miami based creatives whose work blurs the lines between performance, music and art.
Although essentially a personal endeavor on the part of both parties, it is apparent (aside from the emblematic posters) that the mural was made not just by two artists acting as individuals, but also by two protagonists of Psychic Youth, Inc– this is understandable as the excitement derived from the pair’s new approach to art making has naturally tempered the vein of their recent creative output to the point that their work now honors many traits upheld by the collective.
The mural itself, which looks somewhat like a party monster vomited on wall is admittedly garish, ill conceived and apparently stifled by an inability to reconcile its opposing worlds of a chaotic energy and obsessive-compulsive order or disorder. Nevertheless, what is interesting and even validating about it is that like the performance work of Psychic Youth, Inc, it is completely free of intention and feeds not on a preconceived notion of communicating or achieving something, but rather simply on the audience’s reactions– or in the case of this piece, which was completed in solitude, what the artists imagined those reactions to be.
The wall represents around twenty cumulative hours of back and forth between the two artists; a process of reworking and layering over each other’s work, of creating from destruction and resisting natural urges to be precious about marks.
Nessi said: “There was no “this is your section, this is my section,” we just kept on switching. All the elements that we used were discardable… electrical junk, reflective Mylar, tape, chains, little mirrors, broken mirrors, paint, post-it notes; its all very peripheral. The piece contains a lot of different iconographies but I am not really invested in any of them. I believe them as much as I don’t believe them. Just because there’s an inverted crucifix doesn’t mean I’m into Satan or anything, but I find those meanings interesting.”
Felipe added: “Perhaps a lot of people who will see the mural will have a question mark dangling over their heads. I don’t think we had an intention at the start; we both just brought all our favorite mediums and began. I personally like to see it as some sort of post apocalyptic remains, artifacts of the state of the times today, like leftover party residuals that hung around and are a bit tattered. I would much prefer that people look at it and just absorb it and not read into it too much because they would be wasting their time.”
On a separate matter, the collaborative known as Psychic Youth, Inc works mainly with performance and contains many bands that contribute to the group’s heavy musical angle. However, despite their many events and the fact that they do visual stuff too there is not yet an identifiable aesthetic, even the mural could not be said to typify anything. The interesting thing about the collective is its diversity and concept. Granted at first glance everything seems to fit under the same umbrella of dark undertones, and undergroundy counter culturey low-fi sounds that seem to tie everything together, but each component within that is very unique and as a whole the group functions in quite a specific way.
Felipe stated: “I personally would like to imagine that we evidence the fact that the younger generations (including people our age) have increased 6th senses due to the fact that we are not really physically evolving anymore. My generation (known as the indigo children) and younger kids seem to be very aware of things in so far as reading between the lines of government frauds, TV News media, fear factors, pop culture bullshit, Star magazine, People magazine, Life & Styles magazines, etc….. I would like to think that Psychic Youth, Inc. represents that we are 100% more hyper aware than ever…of course there is a larger percentage of “robots,” or what some of my friends call “fillers” in this planet, but that’s OK because without them the planet would have been a bit unbalanced so we need the robots to continue doing our thing in a weird sad way.”
Nessi added: “The name Psychic Youth is what the band Throbbing Gristle called their audience because they felt that there was a connection between them as band members and the audience. For Throbbing Gristle, a large consideration was what the audience brought to the performance combined with the personal dynamics between band members.”
One could argue that Psychic Youth, Inc’s members came together in order to free themselves of the constraints of having to produce marketable work or rather that acting in such an unrestrained manner was the only way that they could envisage reaching their audience and/or making valuable work. Below are three video’s of performances during Singles Night which hopefully serve to illustrate these points. Singles Night was a night of solo performances at Studio 1415, 1415 NE 129th Street, Miami. Performers included Dino Felipe, Federico Nessi, This Heart Electric, Ana Mendez, Teepee, Rick Diaz, Treasures, Green Circles, Drowning the Virgin Silence and Flux Forces.
This Heart Electric. Drowning The Virgin Silence. Green Circles. Treasures.
Federico Nessi. Ana Mendez.
Teepee. Flux Forces. Rick Diaz. Dino Felipe.
Although the mural for Sweat Records was just a commission and not a Psychic Youth, Inc production per say, there is definitely an analogous performative element to it–both artists came with a mission and worked until the energy of the event ran out. That specific way of working is very similar to the way in which Psychic Youth, Inc performances are executed; there are no specific parameters, the artists just play what feels right, its like a jam session.
As such the mural itself should not be viewed with the same criteria as one would use to view a fine art work; it is more the relic of an event. And even though it was a private event similar to the event of an artist making a painting, both Nessi’s and Felipe’s approach to that event was consciously not about the result of the event. In fact, it was not really about the event itself either, but rather simply about being free and spontaneous, but also very controlled [.]
Psychic Youth, Inc are currently proposing a performance to Locust Projects and planning a Duos Night as a sequel to the Singles Night of December 12th .
For more information on Sweat Records please visit: www.sweatrecordsmiami.com
For more information on Pshycic Youth, Inc specifically please visit: www.myspace.com/wirewirewire