What will life in Miami be like in the year 2100? How will climate change, sea-level rise and the plight of environmental refugees transform South Florida?
These are the questions an immersive art experience, “Prelude to 2100” created by Susan Carabello, will answer next week at the Deering Estate in Miami.
Carabello imagines the year 2050 when the mansion and surrounding buildings have been converted into a safe haven for people who have been displaced by the weather. After repairs are made to the house after yet another hurricane, the complex’s residents decide to host an open house. The public is invited to visit the property and meet the residents.
These diverse international characters include Jimmy from Central Florida, who had first-hand experience with sugar cane burns; Venezuelan Magdalena, who made a promise to herself not to bring a child into this fractured world; and Anita, who lost her home in Liberty City due to climate gentrification. Their personal lives and conflicts — and other strange phenomena — all contribute to the experience.
“The work explores notions of community, climate change, loss and love, while incorporating environmental history, scientific facts, magical realism and speculative fiction with the intention of empowering audiences toward an affirming tomorrow,” Caraballo said.
“For me it was important that it is a positive tomorrow and not purely dystopian. This idea of everybody living together is based on a concept of co-housing and intentional communities.”
For more than 20 years, Miami-based Caraballo, who identifies as queer, has collaborated as a producer and curator with regional arts organizations. Caraballo organized the 2019 symposium “ARTiculating Sustainability: Resilience in the Climate Crisis?” at the Perez Art Museum Miami and received funding through the Knight Arts Challenge for #ARTiculatingClimate to support works by Miami-based artists addressing climate issues.
For this project, Caraballo collaborated with critically acclaimed playwright Juan C. Sánchez (“Miami Motel Stories”) and director Jennifer de Castroverde on the theatrical components. “Prelude to 2100” also features interactive installations by artists Laurencia Strauss, Kerry Phillips and the Department of Reflection, along with dance performances by Olujimi Dance and Sandra Portal-Andreu.
Other artworks by AMLgMATD, Cara Despain, Alicia Eggert, Gustavo Matamoros, Jits Microfarm, the Queer Theory Library, Carrie Sieh, Fereshteh Toosi and Kim Yantis and Lucinda Linderman will also be featured during the three-day event. Caraballo began working with many of the artists more than a year ago.
Originally scheduled for two weekends and staged throughout various intimate spaces in the historic houses at the Deering Estate, “Prelude to 2100” was adapted to take place entirely outdoors due to the recent Omicron variant surge.
“We had to pivot drastically,” explained Caraballo. “I always intended to be inside and outside, getting a tour of the historic homes where people live in the future … The theatrical component is now on the porches, the stairways, the balconies. It is still very exciting and the two dance performances, art vendors, interactive installations and artworks are integrated into the stories.”
Following the premiere weekend, Caraballo plans to film the individual vignettes inside the buildings.
“Prelude to 2100” will be presented Thursday, Feb. 3 and Friday, Feb. 4, 7–10 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 6, 6–9 p.m., at the Deering Estate, 16701 S.W. 72nd Ave. in Miami. Timed entry tickets are $20 at LiveArtsMiami.org/Events/Prelude-to-2100/.