Omni-ZonaFranca @ PAMM

Added on by Jessie Aufiery.

"Exquisite Corpse" books. (All photos courtesy of Gesi Schilling.)

"Exquisite Corpse" books. (All photos courtesy of Gesi Schilling.)

It was Free Second Saturday this April 12 at PAMM. Guest artist Carol Todaro showed participants how to make books based on “The Exquisite Corpse”, a word game played by the Surrealists. The project, created in the spirit of poetry month, involved juxtaposing images and words. Kids (and parents) worked at long tables with paper, markers, magazine clippings, and glue. “I was excited to be asked [by PAMM] to do this,” Todaro said. “And I’m happy to work alongside O, Miami!”  

An hour-long performance entitled “Looking for the Lost Sun” by Omni-ZonaFranca, a multi-disciplinary collective of street artists from Cuba, began at 2pm. (Artists from Sign-Dance Collective, based in the United Kingdom, were also among the performers: this was a first-time collaboration between the two groups.)

The performance was "a collaborative ritual exploring concepts of family, and inviting a transformation of self". A labyrinth with a centerpiece of ceremonial-looking yellow carnations and sunflowers was installed on the floor of PAMM’s magnificent outdoor space, percussion instruments were gathered, and an Omni-ZonaFranca DJ spun Buddhist-prayer-like chanting. The performance started with a slow procession of fifteen or so people clad in white, led by a ‘bride’ in a ruffled white garbage-bag dress and holding a votive candle.

The performers invited audience members into the labyrinth, which everyone slowly traversed, gradually building up a group chant of “Hay un sol en tu corazon” (There is a sun is your heart). As the chanting reached an apex and dissipated, classical music began to stream from the speakers, and was soon accompanied by lovely low contralto singing from the bride.

The performance ended, and everyone was invited to write, paint, and draw on long banners laid out near the DJ booth. A continuously looping video “Dedicated to all those families forced to live divided” was shown in the museum's auditorium. The video pictured children and families Omni-ZonaFranca has worked with in Cuba, as well as recurrent images related to distance between families: telephones, airplanes, children playing, an empty rocking chair, a man’s pensive face.