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Locust Projects Makes Art Happen with Three New Commissioned Projects

Written By Shanieya Harris
April 5, 2022 at 6:57 PM

The 181, THE ABSOLUTE VALUE OF INFINITY ON ITS SIDE (O DISSIPATION), 2022. Photograhy by Zachary Balber; courtesy Locust Projects.

Locust Projects is Miami’s longest-running nonprofit alternative art venue, founded in 1998 by artists, for artists.

Their newest commissioned projects feature the works of the 181 Collective, Leila Weefur, & Sonic Insurgency Research Group.

The 181 Collective is composed of 4 members: Brandon Boan, Abby Donovan, Tom Hughes, and Jason Rhodes. The group has worked to captivate a new and youthful approach to “art on the move” titled, The Absolute Value of Infinity on its Side (O Dissipation).

Have you ever been asked to tour an exhibit while wearing a headlamp? If the answer is no, this is where art lovers searching for an adventure should go.

Lorrie Mertes, Executive Director at Locust Projects says, “Art on the move is different each time. It could be art that is seen on a bus or the side of a building. This time around with the 181 collective there was a great deal of trust and freedom. They started with a carpet, the rug cutter, and the ladder. Each day they gradually began to add to it. You never know what you will see when you arrive.”

When asked what art on the move meant to the collective, member Tom Hughes giggled and simply responded, “We just took it for what it was at face value!”

“You cannot hold something static to its definition. It is about activating and being in relation at all times. What you see on day one will not be the same as what you will find on the last day of the exhibit.” Jason Rhodes chimed in.

The collective brings together their journeys and that of bystanders. As a collective, it becomes their responsibility to activate a response from all receptors.

“It is so amazing to see the transfer and sense of car and curiosity in the presence of existing with art.” Brandon Boan alluded to setting up at the beach and the reaction that came from children.

When asked to describe their work in one word they agreed on, “Envelope, wobble, half-opened, and cephalopod.”

Leila Weefur, Play Prey, 2022. Installation view at Locust Projects, By Zachary Balber Photography. Courtesy Locust Projects.

Leila Weefur’s PLAYPREY is a four-part film. Upon entering, it is complemented by audible dialogue, a red-carpeted space, a white architectural installation meant that assists in the exploration of youthful play. Weefur’s work touches upon the manifestation of desire, and latent aggression that impacts queer black children’s experiences in the Christian Church.

Referencing back to the thought process behind the dialogue Weefur clarified, “The voiceover is a child’s inner thoughts. Rarely do we hear/see/understand the inner world of children, especially as they are trying to understand themselves and their relation to the constructed world around them. I wanted this to be the guiding voice, to place everyone in the mind of their child selves and experiences.”

Amid architectural nuance and sincerity, Weefur is interested in hearing from others about how and what parts of themselves they can locate in the film.

What parts of yourself will you identify?

Sonic Insurgency Research Group (SIRG) is also a featured collective consisting of artists Josh Rios, Anthony Romero, and Matt Joynt.

SIRG is showcasing its immersive sound installation called If the Source is Open (Megamix).

The exhibition extends the collective’s investigations into the relationship between sound and power. It is a mixture of interviews, the natural bustle of Miami, and construction.

SIRG, If the Source is Open (Megamix), 2022. Installation view at Locust Projects. By Zachary Balber Photography. Courtesy Locust Projects.

SIRG responds to those who may question the fusion saying, “The construction sites in the piece present an important sonic presence to think about. The ongoing project of gentrification requires the production of an enormous amount of sound that many might consider being noise. Often silencing the social sonic spaces and practices of people that have been displaced by gentrification.”

There is an integrated absorption that invites you, the viewer/listener, to envision, slow down, and spend time with the piece.

Stepping onto the platform creates a physical meeting point where listening can take place. It’s a strategy for occupying the room, focusing on the audience, and positioning the listener. It is the listener’s responsibility to be present and activate it.

Locust Projects’ current exhibitions are open until April 9th. Located in the Miami Design District at 3852 North Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33127, they are open to visits between 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

For further information, go to locustprojects.org.

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