Theater / Film
PAMM Opens Miami Film Month with Evening of Music and Film
Highlighting Miami’s growing place in the world of film, June is Miami Film Month. The city-wide festival, now in its third year, gives both visitors and locals a good reason try something new. Many participating organizations will be hosting special events including discounted or free film screenings.
Kicking off Miami Film Month, the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) will host a happy hour and DJ on the Terrace on Thursday from 6-9 p.m. Entry to the event is free and open to the public, as part of the Free First Thursdays.
At the center of the evening is a film installation by artist Stan Douglas. His work Luanda-Kinshasa was recently purchased by the museum in partnership with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and is a new addition to PAMM’s permanent collection. Luanda-Kinshasa will be shown during the evening celebration and throughout the summer.
A Vancouver native, Douglas is an internationally recognized artist working in diverse media including film, installation and photography. Much of his work uses simple disruption tactics to break apart our unconscious relationship with mass media, history and time.
His Luanda-Kinshasa is set in the 1970s at the CBS 30th Street Studio in New York, famously known as “The Church.” In its time, the studio produced key recordings by legendary musicians Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, Miles Davis and many others. For Luanda-Kinshasa, Douglas created an imaginary musical group with costumes and sets based on meticulous research. It appears to be a documentary, but as PAMM curator Rene Morales describes it, “Luanda-Kinshasa is a constructed document of a fictitious recording session at the famed studio, featuring a band of professional musicians improvising together.”
Where many of Douglas’s films are heavily conceptual, Luanda-Kinshasa is one of his more accessible works. Morales notes, “The music and the styles and mannerisms of the musicians are so compelling, they make time seem to melt away.” And touching on questions of race, gender and nationality still relevant today, Morales continues, “the work vividly evokes the emergence of identity-based political struggles in the 1970s, alluding in particular to the birth of a globally minded black consciousness.”
Luanda-Kinshasa’s conceptual twist comes via its soundtrack. Over the course of the six-hour film, the band continually improvises two songs, “Luanda” and “Kinshasa.” According to Morales, “What seems at first to be straightforward, open-ended improvisation turns out to be a seemingly endless loop of edited and repeated parts.” For the viewer, “it becomes difficult to tell whether time is moving forward or folding in on itself.” Thus Douglas interrupts the film’s temporal progression, revealing it as a construction.
The celebration at PAMM’s terrace pays homage to the cultural era depicted in the film. Out on the terrace, DJ Hans will play recordings from the many artists who recorded at The Church and defined the sound of the ‘70s with their music.
While at PAMM, film lovers should not miss the room of cinematic sketches by artist Beatriz Santiago Muñoz. Her thoughtful and inventive installation, A Universe of Fragile Mirrors, will be open to the public during the event.
‘Stan Douglas: Luanda-Kinshasa,’ opening Thursday 6-9 p.m., and running through June, Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; opening night is free; pamm.org. To learn more about Miami Film Month, visit miamiandbeaches.com.