Art Basel Miami Beach 2014 Artists Market

Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe Get Metafictional in Miami

sansanThe artists Justin Lowe and Jonah Freeman staged their performance Shadow Pool: A Natural History of the San San International at the Edition hotel in Miami Thursday night. Freeman sat at a table in front of a large crowd and deadpanned through a slide show of stock photos about the fictional San San International, a huge festival of technology, ideas, pornography, and a variety of other topics that had started out small and became bigger and bigger, swelling into a carnivalesque display of bodies and pointless events. Not unlike a certain art fair happening this week! (“The crowds just keep coming,” Freeman said, an image of a massive horde projected on a screen behind him. “And it’s just spectacle.”) The piece was a combination of a fashion show, institutional critique, musical performance, and a weird relative showing you pictures from his vacation.

Some details Freeman discussed: “This is the table where they checked everybody in”; “This is the ribbon cutting ceremony. You can see the big scissors there”; “Red carpet right here. Big deal.”

As Freeman continued, his line of thinking became increasingly ridiculous, mirroring the trajectory of the San San itself, which grew from a festival into its own kind of futuristic city that then had to be burned to the ground, after which “it kind of works.” “Hybridized” was Freeman’s word for this.

“You have a remote control car that can be a stereo,” he said, showing off a picture of a remote control car with a stereo on it. Continuing with the slides, he said, “You have a shoe that can dry hair. And here, I don’t know if you can see this, but those are leather socks.”

The crowd also became more and more restless as Freeman droned on and the performance devolved into chaos. An art dealer sitting next to me chortled, “This is worse than Le Baron on Tuesday night.” Someone texted me: “This guy is a moron.” This was likely the intended reaction, the piece being, more than anything else, a commentary on the crowd’s mood. After a few days in Miami, everyone was tired and it was hard to say what the original point of any of this had been.

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