Provisional Obstruction (Little Haiti II)
Provisional Obstruction (Little Haiti, Miami II) continues a collaborative series of works by Miami-based artist misael soto and New Delhi-based artist Ayesha Singh, which began in 2017 in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago and continued in Little Haiti, Miami in 2019, and Miami Beach in 2021. The artworks employ dysfunctionally-installed scaffolding, and banner-sized architectural and historical imagery, both temporary and pragmatic objects and structures that are typically secondary and subservient to what is traditionally seen as more permanent objects and structures such as buildings. Site-specific architectural, infrastructural, and community-based research is applied aesthetically to formulate the shape of the scaffolding, and inform the content of the images that are fastened to the scaffold’s skeletal framework. The public installations deviate passersby viewpoints and divert foot traffic along the sidewalk in front of these buildings, becoming catalysts for conversation on shared ideas of stability birthed from objects that connote impermanence. Considered to be performative, the work’s transience, dysfunction, and alterations will be amplified through interaction which includes the work’s installers, viewers, everyday passersby, and intentionally placed actors.
This fourth iteration of Provisional Obstruction is located at Dimensions Variable a contemporary art space in Little Haiti, one of Miami’s most rapidly changing and gentrifying neighborhoods due in large part to its higher elevation as compared to the rest of Miami, a phenomenon known as climate gentrification. The building at 101 NW 79th Street has previously played host to other tenants including a pet store and an automotive repair shop. Often mistaken to be an unoccupied building, the public installation opens the space and building to its neighbors, community, and passersby.
The scaffold is designed to point toward itself and its own dysfunctionality. It adopts a precarious form toward a structural fragility that is simultaneously freestanding but tethered onto the architecture of the building. A reflective and self-reflexive visual and critical exercise is the intended experience, with a literal undercurrent of rising water, the structure mimics a wave arching over, about to crash onto the building.
At first, the scaffold will be covered in fragments of reflective panels. In an effort to broaden the work’s context, misael and Ayesha have directly engaged community collaborators including artists, activist groups, and local businesses. Together with the artists, they are invited to envision and create additions to the work with a simple prompt: “What changes would you like to see in your community/communities?”
Provisional Obstruction (Little Haiti II) will be installed at Dimensions Variable for six weeks, and will have two openings with a gap of 3 weeks. The first opening will be on Saturday August 6, 2022, 6-9 pm. The second opening and neighborhood cookout will be Sunday, August 28, 2022, 5-8pm.
Saturday August 6, 2022, 6-9 pm
Join us for the introductory phase of Provisional Obstruction (Little Haiti II). As an invitation to those who live, work, and often pass-by this space, the public installation of scaffolding and reflective fabric will present the building’s façade as a space to be occupied. Please speak to the artists about how you can be a part of the artwork!
Unveiling & Cookout
Sunday, August 28, 2022, 5-8pm
The second and final phase of Provisional Obstruction (Little Haiti II) will unveil and celebrate the work of community collaborators in dialogue with the initial installation, projecting their desires for the future of the surrounding neighborhood. As a culmination of the work done together, the final installation will be open to view till September 18, 2022.
This project is made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, Dimensions Variable, and Commissioner. Special thanks to Anita Sharma, Dejha Carrington, and Lance Minto-Strouse (Outreach Coordinator).
Ayesha Singh’s (1990, lives in New Delhi) practice involves subversive actions that highlight socio-political hierarchies and the assertion of established systems of power in architecture. Video, sculpture, installation, performance and drawings create sites of discourse and record, to question the assumed permanence of buildings and the histories omitted during construction, restoration and destruction. The works aim to flip these narratives through critical spatial interventions that emphasize collaboration and coexistence.
Singh has exhibited solo and group shows at Palazzo Madama – Museo Civico d’Arte Antica, Turin, Italy; Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria; Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK; Museum of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing, China; Sculpture Park Jaipur, Nahargarh Fort, Rajasthan, India; and University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK, to name a few. Singh was awarded the Emerging Artist of the Year award from India Today (2020); the Ellies Creator Award from Oolite Arts (former Art Centre/South Florida), USA (2018-19); the Civil Society Institute Fellowship at Vermont Studio Centre, USA (2018); and the Science & Culture Initiative Grant from the University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2017-18). Her work has been published in Art Review, Hyperallergic, Architectural Digest, Art India, Burnaway, Public Parking, Domus, and Stir to name a few. Her work is a part of notable public collections including the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK; The Burger Collection, Hong Kong; and the Partition Museum, Amritsar, India.
In a country with little to no governmental or institutional support for the arts and with limited opportunities, Singh is determined to create spaces for community interaction, alternative methods of knowledge-sharing, and guidance. She is the co-founder of Art Chain India- a peer-support movement for visual artists living and working in India that is driven by the potential for localized assistances and commonalities to create global solidarities within artist communities, to challenge opacities within which systemic hierarchies thrive. This is a movement that seeks to exist beyond the uncertainties of today, to cultivate a politics of autonomy and collaboration, and to de-center conversation, economy and resources.
Singh’s Fragments of Anticipated Nostalgia is currently on view at Dimensions Variable.
misael soto’s practice interrogates and subverts contextually associated everyday objects and systemic roles, disrupting and manipulating space, systems, and frameworks. The publicly accessible, time-based, and ephemeral work involves interventions made upon existing objects, performative activations, institutional mediations, and is often a combination of these elements. Pointing to truths found within the equivocal and disturbing presumed permanence are foundational goals. The novelty and uncanny nature of these situations, and the vulnerability asked from viewers, aligns their attention with the present and reveals circumstantial actualities leading to dialogue around critical contemporary concerns.
Born in Puerto Rico (1986) and based in Miami, misael received their MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2018) and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from Florida Atlantic University (2008). misael was the first ever Art in Public Life Resident with the City of Miami Beach’s Department of Environment and Sustainability and Oolite Arts, where they founded the Department of Reflection. Beyond their public artworks which they have shown extensively for many years, misael has exhibited at MCA Chicago, Open Engagement 2015, the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, Material Art Fair in Mexico City, David Castillo Gallery in Miami, and Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, amongst others. misael is a studio artist at Dimensions Variable and has participated in Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts’ Fall 2020 Residency Program in Omaha, NE, The Fountainhead Residency in Miami, FL, the ACRE Residency Program in Steuben, WI, and HomeBase Project’s HB Build Artist-in-Residence program in Berlin, and will participate in the Heat Exchange, Exchange program with BFI Miami and Rogaland Kunstsenter in Stavanger, Norway, and Santa Fe Art Institute’s residency.