MIAMI DIY PART II: the end/SPRING BREAK

By | August 17th, 2011 | 1 Comment

Kevin Arrow's 'Sun Ra Listening Session' at the end/SPRING BREAK bewildered and overwhelmed, as intended.

The room was cold and every inch dark, save for the walls, which had been transformed into overlapping, perpetually shifting movie screens. It was a Friday night in late July, and a small, bewildered audience sat entranced by the seemingly non-sequitur progression of images: psychedelic iconography, Jimi Hendrix, symbols lifted from the occult and Egyptology, a giant cosmic baby.

Two films, Space Is The Place (1974) and A Joyful Noise (1980), ran simultaneously. Both rest somewhere between documentary, New Age/Sci-Fi epic, and free-jazz musical, and both take as their focus avant-garde jazz composer Sun Ra. Amid the flashing, morphing imagery pulsing on the room’s eastern wall, the bandleader and multimedia artist stood next to his only equal in freakdom — himself — and played an improv piano jam in each of the films.

The evening’s host, Miami-based video artist Kevin Arrow, called the event, straight forwardly enough, “Sun-Ra Listening Session”, but it might have been accurately dubbed “Sun-Ra Sensory Overload Happening”. The passersby walking to their dinner reservations in the Design District that night probably wondered what was going on in Spinello Gallery, not realizing that the venue had been transformed into an abstract “place” called the end/SPRING BREAK.

the end/SPRING BREAK has existed for almost two years as a mobile locus that founder Domingo Castillo describes as a platform for “people to share information, obsessions, and other things they know about or are interested in” using any media or format they please.

The name switches according to the art season. SPRING BREAK (all caps) is used during the winter months of snowbird migration and the art fair extravagance epitomized by Art Basel Miami Beach, and the end (no caps) takes over during spring and summer, when the art scene is relatively sleepy.

Along with fellow artists Patti Her and Cristina Farrah, Castillo set out to forge a space that broke fresh conceptual ground relative to those he had worked with previously. As a founder of La Cueva, a Little Havana residence and art space turned occasional music venue, and in collaboration with The Division of Human Works, in Brooklyn, the Miami native became captivated by space and spaces, both as theoretical concepts to ponder and realities capable of affecting and being affected.

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