November 21, 2022

Refraction x Miami Art Week: Mapping a New Landscape for Digital Culture

Words by
Kate Neave
Featured Artists

In just a few days, Refraction is shaking up Miami Art Week. Creating tangible moments from new technologies, Refraction showcases unique perspectives on contemporary art and on-chain culture. Through its boundary-pushing festival, Refraction is constantly exploring new ways of approaching live experiences, combining immersive art with music and community. It creates a space to inspire, bringing the scene together at one of the foremost contemporary art events in the world. 

Originally planned for the Center for Subtropical Affairs, Refraction's event has expanded to a new, larger venue for its ambitious art and music programming due to overwhelming interest. On November 29th and 30th Refraction will take over a massive warehouse at 225 Northeast 58th Street in Little Haiti, encompassing a 12,000 sq ft outdoor area. This dynamic event, with specifically commissioned new works, will prioritize Refraction's well established core values with this season's "Creatives First" mantra at its heart.

The visual art exhibition, curated by Dina Chang and Malcolm Levy, will include artists that embody Refraction’s mission to promote diversity and support underserved communities. Drawing on subcultures and historic movements for inspiration, the event includes artists that have been active in the space since the '80s and '90s, like Krist Wood from Computers Club. The show will come to life as a melting pot of new and old, established and lesser known. The more familiar names will be balanced with progressive emerging talent including the best new creatives coming out of Latin America. "I really like to take a risk," curator Dina Chang explains. "I like engaging with young artists. You don’t know what you’re going to get. I find that really exciting and it produces really good work. So far I’ve found it to be a successful way to curate."

Pond 3.0 by Fizz Pop

Many of the artworks in the show respond directly to their Miami location, picking up on the tropical fauna and the vibrant feel of the city as well as its pastel colors. Front and center in the exhibition will be a large scale projection by Fizz Pop, an artist that investigates landscape traditions through digital painting. Other highlights include a moving image work by new talent D3mo—a fantasy scene of imagined plants and animals rendered in exquisite detail. 

Rodell Warner has created a stunning new work simulating crystals in a category five windstorm, while Agnieszka Kurant contributes a speculative piece that investigates the tangled relationship between geology and digital capitalism. Inspired by the way natural forces shape rocks and meteorites over deep time, when redeemed, her NFTs become physical sculptures cast in a fictional mineral-currency. The work contributes to a fascinating thread that runs through the whole exhibition teasing out the complex relationship between digital and the environment.

Still from work by Agnieszka Kurant on display during Refraction Festival Miami

As Dina flags, some of the most exciting work focuses on the possibilities and limits of technology: "There will be a Kim Asendorf x Ellie Hedden collaboration in which AI generated portraits will be thrown into Kim's grid style pixel sorting program, reminiscing on uneasy moments of childhood adolescence." Kim Asendorf and Ellie Hedden will be live minting their work on site, and artist Phillip D Stearns will be launching an fxhash piece during the day.

Following the success of the progressive exhibition design at ZeroSpace in New York, Refraction will team up with former Virgil Abloh collaborator Craig Barrow to create a display of pipe structures and plinths embedded with Infinite Objects—bespoke modular sculptural elements that evolve over the course of the exhibition. The digital will interact with the physical as the exhibition engages the audience and spills outside into the huge outdoor space. 

More of a collective experience than a traditional exhibition model, the vibe in Miami will be about bringing Refraction Festival to life. Panel discussions each afternoon will transform the venue into a meeting point for ideation and research on creative practices, bringing together thought leaders with artists to imagine new possibilities. Panels will center around the place of creatives and investigate the role of AI–a key topic right now in the digital arts agenda. The team promise discussion will explore a nuanced approach to the new technology, considering best practice and the implications on ownership.

Music programming includes a live performance by Yaeji

Running each day from late afternoon into the early hours will be an incredible music lineup, including Jimmy Edgar, Marie Davidson, Sel.6, Space Afrika and Doss, plus a headlining performance from Yaeji, whose style of understated hip house blends mellow vocals sung in both English and Korean over low-slung beats.

On 1 December, Refraction will migrate to the Frost Science Planetarium at the Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science for another unmissable event. Electronic music producer Danny Daze will launch a nearly 360-degree immersive visual experience, matching live performance with imagery by Konx Om Pax, projection mapped across the inside of the 67-foot dome.

The full program will see Refraction creating an ecosystem of creators, artists, DJs, and curators both inspiring and being inspired. Refraction will send a worldwide message about what the festival is doing, what the DAO is doing, what the artists are doing and the potential of collaborative creative communities. Ultimately, Refraction aims to challenge the framework and systems of contemporary culture and Miami Art Week is the perfect platform from which to achieve their mission. The team invites you to attend its Miami program and play a part in making it happen.

RSVP here.

Kate Neave
Kate Neave is a curator, art writer and creative producer with 10 years experience working with artists. She has a reputation for initiating groundbreaking projects and nurturing some of the most exciting upcoming talent alongside established names. Kate is based in Brighton and London, UK.

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