Art & Design

A Gun and a Girl: Art Basel Miami Day 3 in Real-Time

Art & Design

A Gun and a Girl: Art Basel Miami Day 3 in Real-Time

6:05 p.m. All day I have been in a participatory art project on the phenomenology of veisalgia in the contemporary beachscape, but now it’s time to get up. Or first, to take a codeine. Then to get up. Did you know that The Hangover II was shot in Miami? Well, I think what I’ve had is The Hangover LXXXVIII. Between the near-total immobility and the hallucinations whenever I half-close my eyes, it’s like being in a k-hole at a rave but also having open-head surgery, except worse.

6:41 p.m. Codeeeeeeeine.

8:23 p.m. Enriqueta’s, the Cuban sandwich shop, is closed, so we go to Rincon Escondido around the corner. My problem was that I didn’t eat dinner last night. I say that like I only have one problem. We’re in Edgewater, but feel lost, and Rincon Escondido is right there. It turns out to be magic, one of those holes-in-the-wall that opens into exactly what you didn’t know you needed. In this case, what I need is cafe con leche and many Spanish fish dishes served by the owner herself. This is secret Miami, native Miami.

8:55 p.m. A soccer field lit white with halogen, the turf unearthly green, the boys in their shirts or no shirts, tanned skin incandescent too: This is performance in the public space at its perfectest. I love this night that feels like morning.

9:01 p.m. Between Edgewater and Wynwood even the residential streets have the mood of alleyways. Dogs bark and I believe them. All cars are black. I take a photo of a house I like, all covered in vegetation and mini lights, and two dudes yell something about “rare cactuses” that seems like code for “go back to Manhattan.”

9:04 p.m. Ten, maybe twenty steps from me there is a grown man with a giant toy gun, except the gun is not a toy, and the man, not more than 19. By the time I have processed this image from simulacrum to physical threat it’s too late to be scared. Anyway, the man doesn’t look scary and he doesn’t look at me. He gets into a black SUV and the black SUV drives on.

9:13 p.m. Here is the party for Tumblr, Paddle8, and Milk Studios’ .gif expo, Moving the Still. The .gif is 25, almost as old as I am, and I should hate it for being so much more successful but I don’t. A board of curators, including Rodarte, Richard Phillips, and Ryan Trecartin, selected the best .gifs submitted through an open call. They also made their own (or got an intern to do it, I don’t know). I love the one Inez & Vinoodh made—of a banshee suddenly appearing outside a bodega—because it looks both like an outtake from a high-concept fashion shoot and like a weird thing that happened in fleshspace two years ago and you just found it on Reddit.

The .gifs are projected in various sizes onto a cluster of white walls in a huge, blacked-out room. It is the best viewing experience I’ve had at the fair, because it is so dark, you see, that nobody looks at each other.

9:38 p.m. I hear a girl explain to her boyfriend that she likes art “with colours in it.” Well, she is the right place. Wynwood is a graphic novel-esque scene: Girls wearing plastic shark’s heads eat margarita popsicles and loiter outside palaces of graffiti; boys drive classic cars from loft to loft. On a wall, someone has painted new life mottos: “Failure is an option,” says one. “I’m never going to be famous,” says another. It is not Jenny Holzer and I feel heartened for real.

9:41 p.m. Basically a feminist martyr: I didn’t go see Azealia Banks because the party she’s playing is for that guy, Terry Richardson.

9:55 p.m. The cab driver asks me if it is always busy like this in New York, and I say it is busy but not like this, and then I say, but isn’t it just like this because of Basel? As if Miami does not exist when there are no New Yorkers to tweet about it.

10:10 p.m. I can drink again, slowly. The Maison Kitsune party is in and outside The Alchemist, on the fifth floor of the Herzog & de Meuron parking garage. There is grapefruit and Pernod in a punch bowl. There are people I know from Montreal. By this point in the fair, most parties have dropped the art, or the pretense thereof, and turned up the French electro. It sounds better with your back to it, the beach city throbbing below.

11:00 p.m. The Moncler party is at capacity. When I hear the dazed, easily confused PR girls say this to more than one person who actually works at Moncler, I believe them. I stand there because maybe we’ll get in, but also, nothing is more revealing of a certain type of person than what they’ll say to get into a party. Everybody knows the owner. Or has six friends up there and there’s no cell reception so… Or was invited by Nadine. (Where’s Nadine? Where is the owner?) Or knows the owner’s girlfriend. Or left a jacket up there. Or left and came back, was just having a cigarette, what is the problem. There is always going to be a major problem, sweetheart, if this person does not get into this party. These people are so ambitious. Imagine if they had jobs.

11:39 p.m. The night is warm and ideal and yet everybody leaving the Moncler party is wearing their new, white, quilted duvet coats, as though they just got a touch cold, how lucky to be gifted these, what a casual addition to this head-to-toe Pucci ensemble, no big deal, yeah, we were at this little party and they had these lying around and also Uma Thurman was there too bad you couldn’t make it ciao!

11:49 p.m. I really don’t need to see any more nouveau-tanned French people, but I will, because here I am, undergoing the ritual humiliation of getting into Silencio. It is, for your info, an extremely liberal interpretation of the David Lynch-inspired nightclub in Paris. It is also extraordinarily bad. There are more people waiting outside than inside, and maybe four people dancing, and although you can smoke inside and that never gets stale for me, you can smoke inside anyway, because Miami has no rule higher than fuck everybody.

12:31 a.m. A bartender at Silencio writes down a set of directions. There are the words “Free Spirits.” There is a name. My friend is trying to get coke, which I’m into, although I would never try myself. I know that I am drawing lines in the beach sand, but I don’t really believe in “finding drugs.” If drugs find me, I do them. That’s all.

1:50 a.m. So when we don’t find them it’s kind of a relief. At Westway again, where my friends Olivia and Steph of American Two Shot are having a party, I buy Jack Daniels and barely drink it and spend uncountable time just wandering. Thing begin to loop. One by one I lose my friends or vice versa. Over and over I see the same strangers, or different strangers in the same outfits, or the same strangers in different outfits. There is a girl selling cigarettes but she turns out to be a man. There are kids wearing glowsticks as jewellery; should I tell them? Should I walk up to somebody, to anybody, and say “What are you doing?” Would somebody or anybody know?