written by David Rohn

Serendipitously , the serious and timely turn up, just to remind us that the pursuit of happiness, through art, boats, investment and leisure activity notwithstanding, the rather inconvenient truth of sea pollution and it s consequences are lapping at our rising shores. So there we were: Miami Boat Show Weekend, and Art Wynwood Art Fair, great combo for a fully-booked tourism weekend, ..and turns out, Space Mountain, the newish alternative space up on NE Second Ave and 84th Street and Swampspace Gallery in the Designer District, both feature events about the catastrophic pollution of the rising seas.

On Wednesday, Alicia Apfel’s Space Mountain presented MERMUTANTS a theatrical performance Piece about post-apocalyptic mutant mer-life under the polluted and risen seas of our fouled and over-heated planet. The Piece was developed by a group of Performers at the Kilnhaus art residency together. They include: Lazar Goese, Chelsea Kamm, Krissy Abdullah, Ellen Degenerate, Ariel Harris-Porada and Kristal Shaver (aka DJ Krustacean) The scenario, in their own words is:

The oceans have risen, swallowing up all but Florida’s highest hill.

As the surviving humans scramble to stay above sea level, highly-evolved sea people thrive below, in the toxic neon slime of the polluted ocean. Through puppetry, storytelling, and original music, Mermutants! explores the dystopian gated community of the last humans, the colorful underwater world of feral mermutants, singing clams, and the bottom-dwelling sea witch, and the garbage-laden shoreline where their worlds collide. The Piece was a lot of fun, in spite of the inconvenient and dreary topic; the props and costumes, made of scraps and odds and ends brilliantly re-cycled into a sophisticated, quasi-naif, theatrical presentation, used the device of seduction to remind the audience that even though brilliant things can be done with ‘garbage’ there s way too much of it and making it out of fossil fuels is not ‘A Plan’, but rather, a serious lack thereof. The Piece was also performed on Friday night at ‘The Boiling Point’.

Meanwhile at Swampspace, Oliver Sanchez presented ‘Obvious / Oblivious”,a show of Toronto-based performance and media artist Ottilie Mason’s often sublime photos of herself in a wide range of situations illustrating the disconnect Humans often exhibit in relation to the Natural Environment: you know , the one that spawned us in the first place…. the one we’ve now fouled with a cornucopia of hideous pollution… The show also features plastic-wrapped ‘hangings’ of plastic garbage that Oliver and Ottilie collected in a brief visit to our shoreline. The point is that the plastic is breaking down in the seas, finding it’s way up the food chain from plankton to shellfish, to swordfish to whales…..etc… So we’re left wondering whether GMO salmon isn t such a bad idea after all…or more realistically, whether mutant sea and land life will have any relation to our current views about ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’. Even though I doubt these shows were touted on the local press releases of ‘things to do in South Florida this weekend’, there ’s still a lot on offer, for entertainment, and ‘food for thought’ to our tourists (and locals).

Swampspace, at 3940 N Miami Ave will feature OBVIOUS/OBLIVIOUS thru Feb 27, ’15, Tuesday-Sat, 11-7

The Obvious/Oblivious project at Swampspace will be raising awareness and funding for the 5 Gyres Institute by donating 50% of art sales.

The 5 Gyres Institute is a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles, dedicated to the elimination of plastic waste in the world’s oceans and watersheds through education, scientific research, and action-based solutions.For more information on The 5 Gyres Institute please visit www.5gyres.org