LOT Miami questions how, amidst rapid change, different communities can coexist
After 2.5 years of research, travel, and long-distance collaboration, LOT MIAMI emerged in the public realm! Even as Hurricane Matthew swept through the region, a group of local and national artists, community leaders, philosophers, educators, business owners, and neighbors were invited to form a temporary community, organized around a series of discussions, artworks, meals, adventures, and other planned and spontaneous events. Though Miami was spared by the hurricane, other areas of Florida, Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba were affected; homes were destroyed and lives were lost. Our project needed to change and adapt quickly while remaining sensitive and positive. We navigated a lot of changing dynamics to deliver a weekend of programming that aimed to investigate a specific vacant lot in the rapidly-changing neighborhood of Little Haiti.
Though four out of five visiting artists couldn't make it to Miami and several locals had to cancel, the remaining group of participants was called together on Friday night at a private home to meet one another, eat a meal, and share in the re-planning. Saturday went forward with a neighborhood walk, on-site “studio” time, a semi-public potluck dinner, and a mash-up of presenters. Sunday’s activities focused around a neighborly BBQ with artist projects and one-on-one interviews happening throughout.
The week was a test of resilience, a product of group dynamics and a facilitator of much goodwill. Questions about mechanisms of power and about the neighborhood’s gentrification intermingled with questions about how and what aspects of the project to salvage after the storm, whether the project should spontaneously change focus, and how to be publicly nimble. Committed to an interest in the lot as a point of departure and an indwelling curiosity about coexistence, LOT Miami sparked a dialog about how neighborhoods adapt to changes both big and small, temporary and long-lasting.
I'm so grateful to my collaborator, Felecia Chizuko Carlisle and the many, many people who contributed to this ambitious and unusual project!
For more information about the project visit LOT WORKS.