Conversation with the organizers of The End/Spring Break
As part of our continuing effort to broaden our network of related media partners we are happy to re-publish a conversation between Nicolas Lobo and Domingo Castillo, Patti Her and Kiwi Farah, organizers of a nomadic project designed to develop new modes of approaching contemporary art and culture within South Florida communities.
Flyers for ‘Now Playing.’
The following text was featured in one of three tabloids edited by Gean Moreno and Ernesto Oroza that were recently published on the occasion of the exhibition New Work Miami 2010 currently on view at MAM. The tabloids are available at locations throughout the city of Miami.
NL: When did “The End” start?
DC: April and May of this year we took 2 or 3 weeks to organize everything and then we started with a screening of Rosemary’s baby and then went from there.
NL: So what is it? The End I mean.
DC: Basically its a nomadic space for the presentation of ideas, screenings, shows, lectures etcetera. and moving from one location to the next because every place has a different influence on what we do there and we always want to find different ways of working around new spaces.
KF: I would say what we are most interested in is constant programing, we do allot of screenings but we also do allot of other things as well, we want to have things happening all the time. We also want the project to move constantly to keep the ideas fresh.
NL: OK I want to go back to that but I want to ask first how the project came about?
KF: Well Domingo and I were living in New York… actually it began really with a space we did a few years ago with Carlos Azcura here in Miami called La Cueva which was a gallery space and we did workshops, lectures and things like that. Patti participated in what we were doing then. We have always been interested in making spaces were dialogue happens.
NL: Yes i remember it was above “El Gato Tuerto” liquor store.
KF: Right, so Domingo conceived the Idea and asked me to be part of this new project. But New York didn’t seem like the right place, we wanted to do it in Miami because there is more opportunity for mobility here and more access to people in a way. Once we got back here Patti joined and we started.
NL: So what’s the idea behind the dual names? The End/Spring Break?
DC: Well it changes back and forth every six months.
NL: So its a seasonal name
NL: Is the name change connected to the way the project works?
DC: Yes the name like the project reflects how this city works, how people use this city. Now its summer and we are at the end, usually nothing happens here, later when the weather gets better the city becomes more active, people come for entertainment and recreation.
NL: I see… the project is conceived as a cell within the activities of the city?
DC: Yes, that’s one of the ideas.
KF: What I like about the juxtaposition of those two names is how it reflects two approaches, The End being an over analysis, critical theory type of mentality and Spring Break is the love affair with kitsch.
NL: Two of the main threads in art right now kind of…
KF: Yeah i think the painter Steven Parrinos’ work kind of sits like that on both sides. I’m into that.
NL: So all three of you have your own practices separate from this project?
NL: And would you describe it as an art project of yours or more of a peripheral organizational activity?
DC: I think it changes for everyone, this is part of my practice, my train of thought… so to me there is no difference.
NL: OK let me ask it this way, If an institutional space asks you to bring the project there, do you treat it as just another temporary place for the project? Or do you try to consolidate and make a display of the project in a kind of past tense?
Flyer for Dino Felipe’s ‘Desert Animals.’
DC: Definitively take over the space in an active way.
KF: And just run The End in that space.
NL: So The End and.. Spring break, how should I refer to it? I’ll just call it The End. As you said the name and project is very connected to this city… So what happens if you are invited to bring it to another city or country? How would it operate?
DC: Well it can operate in both cities at the same time, it would not stop functioning here. It would just develop itself there as well.
NL: So the geographic boundary of the city of Miami is not much of a concern?
KF: No not really.
NL: So is there an agenda, a program in a gallery sense or is the program not to have a program?
KF: We are kind of on the edge of that because we are now in the process of preparing to apply for grants.
NL: OK that leads to my next question, what is the furthest planned evolution of the project?
PH: Right now we are just looking at the next 6 months.
NL: OK so six months at a time, and that seems to be part of the program for the space the fluidity of it?
PH: Yes that’s the beauty of it, if someone is fascinated by a strange subject and they want to share it, we can respond quickly to that. And I think that’s why we wouldn’t want to become more institutional.
NL: Well I meant institution in the looser sense, not some kind of museum but more like a non-profit something like Locust Projects or Light Industry in New York, spaces that came out of activities like what you are doing now and the activities lasted 10-20 years and they are now a more fixed part of the city.
KF: It would be great if the project became self-sustaining, we would be excited about that.
NL: So could it eventually become Non-nomadic or is that part of the mandate of the project?
DC: Yes it has to remain nomadic. The movement creates relationships, It makes it that much easier for information to pass from one place to the next.
NL: OK I’m starting to see an aesthetic, a social aesthetic I guess. Is there some other aesthetic concern the project is involved with under the surface? A certain look or feel to things?
DC: I don’t know… I wanted to start with Rosemary’s Baby because I wanted to focus on the birth of pure evil. Then I wanted to continue with films that featured women in power. After that I think one thing will just lead to another.
KF: We want to work with different people who have different types of extreme tastes, that way it will cover a lot of ground.
NL: So this is kind of like the new model for art spaces right now because it focuses on activity. I think maybe twenty years ago the idea of an alternative space was very popular. It was clearly defined as a space for art outside of a commercial context. This is now defined by activity, a framework for activity? I see other cities doing this, I can think of Cleopatras in New York and other projects in Los Angeles. Not to mention other countries.
DC: There is allot going on like this elsewhere especially in Europe right now…
Now Playing installation view.
NL: Is The End anti academic?
DC: The End is sponsoring all the things that academic institutions don’t do. When people give lectures, we are not interested in having them lecture about their art practice. We want the lecturers to impart a bulk of knowledge they have outside of their practice. So for example if an artist has researched Gregorian chants and has allot of knowledge on that subject, that’s what we would like them to talk about.
NL: So its not so much anti-academic as it is post academic? Does it try to fill a graduate school void here in any way?
KF: It would be cool to think of it that way…
DC: It kind of depends because… well we’ve had Abel Folgar doing this four part series on the history of Punk music and underground music in South Florida. Anyway people we have been inviting have been dealing with South Floridian topics.
PH: Have you heard of Skwee?
NL: Well I’ve been following the lecture program and I saw you had one on that subject..
DC: Timothy used to do the Electric Kingdom radio show on 90.5 WVUM…
KF: I think who will make a really good example was when we had a workshop with Denise Delgado from the Miami-Dade Library system. She is actually in grad school and this workshop she presented was a lesson plan for a class she teaches at her school about charged objects in fiction. She was sort of testing out the lesson plan with us. Kind of a writers workshop without the writing, more just a conversation about the subject matter.
NL: So it had more of an educational position…
DC: Yes but its important that it remain open for everyone to come and participate in any aspect of it. Even if its a lose idea, lets get together and figure it out. Denise approached me about two and a half weeks before she did her workshop and everything just kind of fell into place.
KF: With that being said, one thing that we find interesting and that we want to do is reach out beyond the usual suspects in the art circle. I mean we find it really rewarding when people who are outside of the art circle come and participate. With Denise a group of writers showed up and it was just me and Domingo and allot of people we had never seen before. We’ve had that happen in a few instances.
PH: Actually with every event we usually get a different group of people.
NL: It’s funny because people go to MFA programs to get connected in the art industry, but when you talk about what makes this project tick, one of the things seems to be a connection to those outside the art circle.
KF: yes we are tired of regurgitation on the subject of art. At some point you have to try and start fresh[.]
This text was contributed by Nicolas Lobo. All images courtesy of The End/Spring Break.