Catalina Ramirez

“El Viandero”

Just off of 8th Street and Ponce de Leon Boulevard Medardo Aguilera, also known by his nom de guerre “El Viandero,” sells a variety of fruits and vegetables out of his truck parked under the shade of an oak tree. Coco Frío, calabaza, banana, fruta bomba are all on display. A man pulls up in his car; salsa music can be heard playing on the radio as he rolls down his window. El Viandero leans in with an inquisitive look and, almost, a smile.

El Viandero is one of many vendors that operate out of small trucks alongside 8 Street. His work ethos is informed by a combination of his own business sense and desire for freedom as well as the creativity that he learned to cultivate as a young orphan growing up in Oriente, Cuba.

Cuban Spoon

If one thing is certain it is that El Viandero knows how to handle a coco. His instrument is a machete. The machete was the weapon of choice for Cuba’s liberator, Antonio Maceo.   One of his battle cries, “un tiro y al machete,” one shot and then the machete, refers to the need to economize bullets and Cubans’ talent for solving problems on the spot with ingenuity. This creative solution in action is referred to as the ability to – resolver.

With the machete, El Viandero displays this resourcefulness.   He creates a small Cuban spoon, una cuchara cubana, as he calls it, with the outer edge of the coconut with which to peel away the softer skin on the inside once the refreshing water has been sipped. This is a trick he learned as a boy in Cuba, where invention was abundant even under the shade of the Coconut Palms.

Resolution

In a city where many live day-to-day and work hard to meet the opportunities that find them, El Viandero is putting his ingenuity to work while his coconuts float on ice.

 

Words by: Catalina Ramirez

Photos by: Leticia de Mello Bueno

The Art of Collecting Voices: An Interview with Sound Artist Halsey Burgund

Halsey Burgund, sound artist, musician, fellow at MIT’s Open Documentary and Media Lab and creator of Roundware, an open source audio platform, is fascinated by the human voice. He has been collecting voices for over a decade. Over the years, he has created little communities of voices, songs, sound installations, and all sorts of musical spoken voice related pieces from his aural collections. As an artist, Burgund is fascinated by the nuance of the human voice, from the emotions and experiences conveyed in a spoken word to its rhythms and, as he hears it, its more musical aspects.  This year, during Miami Art Week, Miami had the privilege of having Burgund’s sonic creativity and documentary interest focused on our city with unreserved, a sound art project that uses voice recorded into a smartphone app as the medium.

Inspired by the desire to free up space for expressive freedom in Wynwood’s increasingly curated landscape, Burgund, in collaboration with Fordistas, dreamed up a sonic intervention that would get people to open up and leave an audio imprint, like a form of audio graffiti, and called it unreserved. The project, which was previewed at the Perez Art Museum Miami during its Third Thursday Poplife Social Event on November 19, 2015 and launched as a sound installation at the Fordistas Gallery in West Wynwood during Miami Art Week, remains available for download on the APP Store as part of an evolving collage of sound.

Culture Designers recently had the chance to chat with Halsey Burgund to learn more about the inspiration behind collecting voices, participatory sound art and unreserved.

Preview of unreserved at the Perez Art Museum Miami. PHOTO CREDIT: Cris Ramos

You are both a musician and sound artist, how would you define sound art? 

I would define it as anything auditory that is arranged in some way by human interaction. My brand of sound art is very close to music in that I use the standard musical elements of pitch, melody, rhythm etc., but I generally consider it sound art instead of music because it contains lots of spoken voices, exists in space, is evolving over time and is experienced flexibly by different listeners.

As its creator, how would you say open source, participatory software such as Roundware, has changed the way people experience art?

Open-source software has certainly had a very significant effect on the production of art as artists continue to embrace new technology and hack it for their needs and this behavior is at the core of the open-source movement. Also, open-source software tends to be cheaper, more flexible and often more esoteric than commercial options.

As far as experiencing art goes, software in general has allowed for a full emergence of interactive and participatory artworks. People no longer expect that a work of art is a single static entity, but rather could be something that they have some effect on and that they will experience in a unique way. Open-source software plays a large role in this emergence, but proprietary software plays a significant role as well.

 

Preview of unreserved at the Perez Art Museum Miami. PHOTO CREDIT: Cris Ramos

What inspired you to begin collecting voices?

 I don’t know why I became fascinated with voices but there’s something about the spoken voice that’s so personal. It’s like an audio fingerprint and so much more is communicated with speech, with spoken voice than with text. Text communicates the semantics of the words, but it doesn’t communicate any of the emotion and the experience that people bring to it. There’s so much nuance that happens as I’m speaking right now and there’s so much of who I am that’s coming through in very subtle ways. As an artist, I like to take advantage of those subtleties and use the voice not only as a way of diving into who people are but also in a very musical way. As I’m speaking right now there are pitches, there are rhythms, there are these musical aspects to my voice that are fascinating to extract in more musical ways.

And now, with technology, I can reach out very far. I feel like I have little microphones that I can stick out anywhere in the world, just by having people download an app and participate.

Engaging with unreserved at the Perez Art Museum Miami. PHOTO CREDIT: Cris Ramos

How would you define unreserved as a project?

I could define it in so many different ways. It’s a sound art project. It’s a music project. It’s a collaboration between myself as the artist and everybody who participates in the project. It’s a very participatory project. It’s a project that is evolving over time as more people contribute. The more people contribute, the more layers are built up and the more diverse the project becomes.

How is unreserved unique in relation to other projects you have worked on?

The basic concept of creating an evolving location-based and contributory augmentation of a physical space is consistent with much of my work recently.

The big differences for me were first, working in a culture that has two dominant and equally important languages. In the past, I have separated languages into silos, but that made zero sense in this situation since Spanish and English are used interchangeably throughout all of Miami.

The gallery installation was a new element as well. I have had gallery installations in tandem with “on-the-street” installations, but this one was more integrated and designed in a different way than previous ones. I like the idea of participants making recordings in-situ and then having them gradually “migrate” to the gallery where they can interact with each other in ways that are very different than how they interact on the streets.

Official launch of unreserved at Fordistas Gallery in West Wynwood during Miami Art Week. PHOTO CREDIT: David Turk

Official launch of unreserved at Fordistas Gallery in West Wynwood during Miami Art Week. PHOTO CREDIT: David Turk

What has it been like working with a platform like Fordistas for this project?

We have a really nice overlap. I don’t do marketing very well. My work is invisible and therefore it needs that help and thought process. Fordistas and the Product 81 team is very experienced with that and they’ve brought a huge number of ideas to the table that have affected what I’m going to do aesthetically and, of course, what we’re going to do from a getting it out there perspective. We both are conceptually bound to the same ideas and we have very different areas of expertise that are complimentary.

I think I should have you guys follow me around for every project I do and it would be much, much better.

What do you envision people getting out of their participation with unreserved?

I hope to encourage participants to think and look at their surroundings in a more creative and flexible way. I am trying to create an environment in which people will open up and be inspired to contribute something about them that is unique and meaningful to them.

I also hope they take some ownership, for example, leaving a recording in a specific spot that other people will be able to hear in the future, for years. I hope people gravitate towards the idea of taking ownership of a certain location and putting a stamp on it, a non-physical stamp that nonetheless is there.

Can you describe the most beautiful thing you see?

That’s one of the questions within the app right now and it’s a wonderful question because a lot of times people don’t think about the beauty that’s around them.

There are a lot of beautiful things. I have a hard time answering that question right now because I’m from Boston. I flew down here this morning and it’s cold and not colorful. I’m down here now and I’m like, WOW! We’re standing here on the bay and I see buildings, I see lights, I see the colors purple and orange on the bridge, and there’s this beautiful curve that the bridge makes and there’s another bridge down there that’s reminiscent of that one and behind us is the wonderful Herzog & de Meuron façade, which is incredible.

View from the Perez Art Museum Miami. PHOTO CREDIT: Catalina Ramírez

It’s kind of a lame answer to say that there are so many things and I can’t decide what’s the most beautiful, but I think the most beautiful thing is the fact that I’m here right now and I’m experiencing it and, you know, it’s something I’ve got to remember.

I hope you do…!

INTERVIEW BY: Catalina Ramírez

unreserved is currently available for Download on the APP Store. Record your audio graffiti.

FORDISTAS is a platform for emerging arts and culture powered by South Florida Ford. To learn more, visit Fordistas.com.

 

 

YO AMO 305 Shop Keeps Spreading the Love

The YOAMO305 Pop-up Shop opened its doors on December 1, 2015 in the Gesamtkunstwerk Building just west of the Wynwood Arts District in Miami and will be keeping them open well beyond Miami Art Week and into the Holidays.  Everything about this gallery-inspired retail space conjures the expression verbalized by a pair of juicy red lips painted on a giant green wall that greets visitors as they enter. In Miami’s most appropriate lingo, everything about the YOAMO305 shop is SUPER CUTE. There is, quite literally, no better way to say it.

Supercute

YOAMO305 has evolved from its first days as an idea sketched out on the blank page of a worn out Moleskine notebook in 2006, to an iconic symbol that is synonymous with Miami.  The highly coveted t-shirts, large and small canvas bags, slick snap back caps and other cute paraphernalia, are meant to evoke love for a particular sense of the local that embraces Miami’s unique cultural identity, one that has been a couple of generations in the making. Beyond a mere symbol, YOAMO305 communicates appreciation in admiration of our beloved MIA. The shop, a celebration of this magic city, is currently housing a variety of mostly local brands and products that mirror the intention to keep spreading the love.

Fachenta

Fachenta, a Nicaraguanism that reflects the backgrounds of its creators -Lissette Ramírez and Natalie Llopis Haque, describes a presentation to the world that expresses pride in oneself, like putting one’s best face forward no matter what.  It is an attitude of extraordinary coolness expressed in the spirit of self-love.

Fachenta

Through the vibrant colors of these purses, handcrafted in Bali, Fachenta celebrates artisan & exotic fashion from around the world and brings it home to YOAMO305, “We could think of no better place to house our love for beautiful things.”

May you always walk with your head held high.

Faith and Science

In a special collaboration with modern day alchemist Karina Hayes, YOAMO305 has dreamed up a one of a kind, all natural wellness product line.  From biodegradable hand made soaps to hand poured exquisite candles, each product carries within its essence the magic of Alchemy.

Faithandscience

Scent combinations include the YOAMO305 Signature, Rose Pomegranate Passion, with fragrances of rose, pomegranate and passion fruit along with other fascinating blends such as, Cinnamon Orange Nutmeg, Keylime Poppyseed, and Chocolate Crème Brulee.

Hippiebots

Part of yet another special collaboration with artists Eva and Pepe of the Hippiebots, YOAMO305 brings to life a one-of-a-kind inspired collection.  Handmade and custom molded with resin, there are no two Hippiebots that are the same. That’s because each contains a world of its own comprised of specially curated crystals, gemstones and other curious novelties. A gorgeous, handmade crystal and gemstone necklace accompanies each Hippiebot.

For this unique collaboration, we’ve curated contents that speak to the city’s electric and eclectic culture – from traditional evil eyes and Tibetan blessed Buddha charms to seashells and glitter. Of course, those curious enough will also spot a YoAmo305 in each.

HippieBot

While discovering the contents of each is an experience in itself, it is believed that each Hippiebot chooses its owner. When it happens, you’ll know.

FROM A HIGH FREQUENCY DIMENSION, THE HIPPIEBOTS TELEPORTED HERE TO SPREAD LOVE, JOY, HAPPINESS AND UNLIMITED POTENTIAL.

I Love Miami 365

I Love Miami 365 is a year long photo journey that celebrates the adventure of what it means to live the vibrancy of the moment in a city that favors free spirits. Alissa Christine, a Brazlian American Miami Beach based artist, brings us the gift of her self expression through photography in a book that conceptualizes every instance as art and gives the viewer access to discover the city through a unique and personalized lens.

IloveMiami365

Welle

Colorful, full of texture and timeless are some elements of Welle Swimwear, the first collection of Katz Hernandez and Rita Blondet, who show that sportswear and good design are synonymous.

Welle is a German word for wave pronounced ‘vele.’

welle

After catching the waves, a 100% eco friendly towel may just be what you need  to dry off and decorate your beach, pool or travel session.

So, come and see us at our new casita at the Gesamtkunstwerk Building…

YoAmo305Store2

From Miami with love… ¡Ya tú sabes!

YOAMO305

2930 NW 7th Ave Miami, FL  33127

STORE HOURS:  11AM – 4PM

WORDS WOVEN TOGETHER BY Catalina Ramírez

PHOTO CREDIT:  David Turk