Dara Friedman is an internationally acclaimed, Miami-based artist who is best known for experimental, non-narrative works that deconstruct the techniques of conventional filmmaking. Using the camera lens as an extension of her eye and body, Friedman strives for a heightened sense of subjectivity, distilling individual moments in time down to their emotional essence.
Dancer, which was co-produced by Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) (formerly Miami Art Museum), is the third installment in a set of films by Friedman that focus on the effects of spontaneous musical performance in the public sphere. Friedman auditioned and selected more than 60 individuals of diverse ages and backgrounds–from classically trained ballerinas to self-taught club dancers–to be a part of the work. Over the course of the ensuing two months, Friedman filmed her subjects as they performed their moves at various public locations throughout the city, from busy South Beach streets to the empty rooftops of downtown buildings. The performances were shot in grainy Super 16mm black-and-white film with a hand-cranked Bolex camera from a slow-moving van that provided amplified music for all to hear.
As the dancers in the film merge with and interrupt the normal flow of the urban milieu that surrounds them, they provide a poetic metaphor for the liberating potential of self-expression, while underscoring the social restrictions that structure our daily lives, especially in public. On another level, the film serves as a portrait of Miami at this point in time–one that pierces through the fog of mass-media representations of this city to provide a vivid sense of street-level, lived experience.
There’s four days left to see Dara Friedman: Perfect Stranger, which is on view through Sunday, March 4, 2018. Visitors can see it for free this Thursday during our Community Night and again during our upcoming Second Saturday event.
From Wynwood to South Beach, you can visit five of the filming locations featured in Dancer.
1. Downtown Miami
This scene was filmed on the top floor of the parking garage of the former Miami Art Museum looking east. If you’re driving north on I-95, you can’t miss it.
2. South Beach
This dancer is on Washington Avenue and the east side of 14th Street. Friedman also used this location in her work Revolution (1993–2003). While you’re here, visit Mac’s Club Deuce, Miami’s oldest bar, which is right around the corner.
3. Downtown Miami
Although the chain link fence is no longer there, you can still head down West Flagler Street under the I-95 overpass to find this spot.
4. South Beach
When Friedman was in search of a pole to feature in Dancer, this unusually thin street sign pole on 20 th Street and Collins Avenue, near the Setai Hotel, provided an ideal perspective.
Head to Wynwood, Miami’s creative community, and seek out this spot on NW 5th Avenue and NW 27th Street.