The Collabo Show: Bhakti Baxter, Agustina Woodgate, and More Debuted Interactive Art

Categories: Art

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Miami artists, art enthusiasts and scenesters came out to play last Friday at the fourth installment of The Collabo Show: Back by Popular Demand. Launched in 2005, The Collabo Show is a series of exhibitions comprised of collaborations between some of the city's most well known, progressive artistes such as Augustina Woodgate, Bhakti Baxter, Jason Hedges and Casey Zap, to name a few. Held at a nameless industrial art space in Wynwood, the show featured interactive installations along with various mixed media works throughout the three large rooms of the all-white warehouse.

Unlike your typical art exhibit, where observers simply stop to view art on their own terms, The Collabo Show included pieces that engaged attendees. Appealing to the observers' senses of touch, sight, and sound through the use of video footage, visual art, audio, and still images, artists created interactive, multimedia installations. One could interact with the art while also pondering the work's meaning.        

One installation incorporated a white toilet bowl doubling as a planter with a leafy tree inside. On the wall next to the organic potty, a video projector flashed images of the Magic City skyline along with the colorful lights that shine on its buildings, bridges, and landscapes at night.  Additionally, headphones rested above the toilet's flushing mechanism. Observers stopped to listen to techno music while watching cityscape-filled motion graphics, experiencing a multi-sensory, interactive relationship to the work of art.

The electric energy of the techno music, the transient images of the city, and the movement of waste represented in the toilet bowl portrayed Miami as a city in a constant state of flux, a city where trash is abundant, but beauty still sprouts from the remnants of its waste.     

Another installation dealt with current issues affecting our town: cutbacks at its public libraries.  The piece, a husband and wife collaboration, included still images of libraries; the novel Fahrenheit 451, which details Nazi book burning; and firefighters. It expressed the sentiment that shutting down libraries is akin to the burning of books used by Nazis to control information available to the masses. Farfetched? Perhaps. But the idea reflects those of residents who organized a series of protests that eventually led city's officials to keep the libraries open. The installation prompted observers to think about and discuss the current event.

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Heike Dempster
One of the most engaging installations included a slingshot used as a tool for making visual art. Paint-filled balloons were pinned to a wall within a covered enclosure resembling a tent. Attendees took shots at popping the balloons, creating a collaborative work of splash art that engaged everyone's sense of play.

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