A curious looking boat is cruising the bay this week. She may look a bit flimsy, but don’t be alarmed: She was commissioned as a site-specific art installation by The Standard for Art Basel Miami Beach, Luis Pons takes us aboard...
STANDARD CULTURE: Why a paper boat? Talk us through the piece.
LUIS PONS: This is a project I’ve wanted to do since 2006. When I first conceived of it, it was a moment of extreme excess and I wanted the piece to be connected to something that was grounded in our memories; a modest gesture related to childhood that would stand in opposition to the opulence in which we were living then, and still are, even today. I wanted to create something that would allow us to establish a dialogue and make us reflect on our real needs instead of our artificial needs. It was something I thought would be interesting to talk about. I also wanted to do something related to the water in Miami and use the bay as a canvas and position the boat in relation to the city and its values. Although we’re on the water, we have no real connection to the water here, and so this was a way for me to talk about that subject as well.
It’s true. Most people don’t think of Miami as a maritime city …
If you look at the cities in the world that have rivers, or direct contact with the water, they respond to the water by creating retail areas and cafes where people can actually enjoy the borders of the city in relationship to the water. We haven’t done that and it’s frustrating. Actually, The Standard to me is an amazing example of that relationship done right. All of the activities are all embraced by the hotel and exposed to the water, and the waterfront becomes the biggest asset. But in a modest way. A very gentle way. If there is a place in Miami that understands the tropicality, that understands the context in which we live, that understands the value of being outside, and that the water is everything for us, it’s The Standard. The entrance to the building is almost a gate to paradise.
Were you thinking about yachts as well?
Yes, of course. Miami is full of buildings and yachts that people do not necessarily need, filled with stuff they don’t even like or understand, to show off to people they don’t even know. I think the simplicity of the boat kind of shows that. Doing things that are so simple can be so rewarding, particularly in the midst of the excess that Miami has always related to.
Was it difficult to pull off?
Not really. The difficulty had more to do with insurance and permits and all of these things. Thankfully, I had the help of amazing people from The Standard, from the guys that built it to the guys that are driving it. We are all in the same boat, actually. It flowed so well and we’re all so happy with the way things are going.
"Paper Dreams" is on view until December 8th, 2013