Octavio Campos’ Intention Intervention, which had the hard act of following Bandaloop, was firmly planted on the ground, what with dozens of yoga-doers planted in downward dog and lighting carried around by techies and volunteers. But in a way, Campos’ project is even more ambitious than dancing in the air – to transform Miami prejudices with the launch of a campaign called Please Don’t Hate Me! “Hate filled emotions are far more nefarious than gravity,” he said. True dat. But yikes, hard to do.
An intervention is an art event that calls attention to a situation, enacting a physical change or creating some sort of happening. Intention Intervention wasn’t just a performance, it was a ritual, meant to engage the people present and make them think.
Campos lightened his earnest intent with tongue in cheek camp and a right-here, normal people just-doing-it atmosphere and structure. The film projected on the New World Center’s Soundscape wall was rated “O” for Octavio, with a warning that “this film may cause enlightenment” and an invented dictionary definition for ac-tion-ist “one who interferes to create a more promising future.”
The multi-colored teens of the splendidly idealistic Voices United chorus ran through the people sitting on the grass, laughing with Octavio, who was snickering into his portable mic and shaking a piece of tin to make ominous thunder, the world’s oldest sound effect. We laugh at you bigots! The film showed interviews with dozens of Miamians about suffering and overcoming prejudice, giant, smiling, incredibly varied faces mixed with images of a grimacing, Natasha Tsakos as a monstrous made-up personage, a Kiss-esque ghoul of bigotry. “Each time we destroy one life we destroy an entire world,” a rabbi said. Brilliant, valiant writer Kerry Gruson, whom a vicious attack early in her life left in a wheelchair and barely understandable, spoke up. “When people see me they think I’m a victim. It’s my job to tell them that I’m not.”
White-suited Leo Casino strolled through playing the sax. Octavio invited everyone to join the dozens of white-clad yogis spread throughout the crowd in a long communal ‘Om’. We saw the performance via hand-held portable lights and cameras carried by Octavio and others – presumably to show that we, too, can transform and project with our own individual actions. (Presumably Octavio was also avoiding the potentially huge costs of more formal outdoor lighting). The Voices United chorus finished by singing Stephen Sondheim’s Children Will Listen “Be careful what you say, children will listen”, sweet and splendidly earnest, not yet ready to give up.