Dora García: I Remember Miami
I Remember Miami, a new participatory work by the artist Dora García, invites the public to come together in a virtual collective space of memory and connection to celebrate the experience of living in our city. Produced by the people of Miami themselves, this work records intimate memories of a vital place temporarily stilled.
“Think about a single place in Miami, where you have been in the past…” This simple direction begins the multidisciplinary Spanish artist García’s instructions for I Remember Miami, a work that welcomes everyone to take part in a collective recording of our vibrant city, currently on pause. While we remain in our homes, I Remember Miami asks us to recall small, specific details of spaces in the city that have made lasting impressions and to record ourselves walking through those spaces in our minds. Participants also take a photo of their present surroundings or choose another photograph that represents the place remembered. The artist will collect the audio files and photographs to compile a polyvocal archive of memories of the expansive, richly varied, and indelible place where we live. This gathering of past remembrances, present sights, and evocative images will constitute a time capsule for the future, documenting this unique time in Miami’s history. I Remember Miami represents a hopeful gesture of solidarity and togetherness at a time of individual isolation. The project is archived on the artist's website at http://doragarcia.org/iremembermiami/.
At the end of 2019, MOAD commissioned a Miami iteration of García’s ongoing project Rezos/Prayers, first enacted in Madrid in 2007, as part of the Museum’s offsite series A City of the People. Ten individuals, placed in various locations or public transit routes around the city, recorded forty-five-minute narrations in both English and Spanish of their observations, noting both everyday and unexpected details. These recordings of “incessant description, recited like a prayer,” posted online as digital audio files, document a particular place at a particular time, an idiosyncratic permanent record of our city as it was at that very moment. The recordings that make up Rezos/Prayers Miami are online at the artist’s website, http://doragarcia.org/rezos/miami/.
I Remember Miami re-envisions García’s work for the present moment when we may not venture out into the city for observation or most other reasons. Inspired by I Remember, a memoir/poem by the American artist and writer Joe Brainard (1942–1994), García has laid out parameters for Miamians ensconced in the city or stranded elsewhere to summon a memory of a single location and relive the experience of being there. Repeated by many individuals, this collective action becomes a crowdsourced reminiscence of multiple places across Miami, both familiar and not, a deeply subjective record of how things were and how they might be again.
Born in 1965 in Valladolid, Spain, Dora García studied at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. She uses a range of media including performance, video, text, and installation. Her practice investigates the conditions that shape the encounter between the artist, the artwork, and the viewer. García’s works often involve staging unscripted scenarios that elicit doubt as to the fictional or spontaneous nature of a given situation. They predetermine set rules of engagement or utilize recording devices to frame both conscious and unconscious forms of spectator participation. García’s work also explores the political potential rooted in marginal positions: namely the figures of the outsider, the outcast and the outlaw, paying homage through several works to eccentric and often anti-heroic personas. The artist has exhibited around the world and was included in Münster Sculpture Projects in 2007; Documenta in 2012; There is always a cup of sea to sail in at the São Paulo Biennial in 2010; and represented Spain in the 2011 Venice Bienale. In 2020, the first United States survey of her work was presented by the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Commissioned by Museum of Art and Design (MOAD) at Miami Dade College (MDC), in collaboration with MDC’s Miami Book Fair, Dora García: I Remember Miami is curated by Rina Carvajal as part of the series A City of the People. It is made possible by the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of its Immersive Technologies in the Arts initiative; the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.