Majer: What’s your impression of Miami, Paolo?
Cirio: Miami is a place full of contradictions. It’s significant for a project on sea-level rise because of the disparity and inequality in the city—and in the United States in general—and how vulnerable it is to climate change. The socioeconomic dynamics and political mechanisms are very concentrated in this city, and that’s what makes this place so interesting. Also the fact that you can see these differences manifest visually, just by walking around, talking to people, and observing the infrastructure.
Majer: How do you see your role as a mentor?
Cirio: My role as a mentor is just giving suggestions. I don’t want to be too invasive; I respect the artist’s work. I provide practical and logistical advice, and some strategic advice from my own experience. I’ve taught before, but being a mentor is a different type of knowledge transfer. It’s more collaborative and engaging.
Sue is very special. It’s been interesting to share ideas with her. She’s inspiring and knows a lot—I learn from her. Sue is very good in research, understanding complex material, and being able to decode it and deliver the financial, scientific, and social issues connected to climate change. She’s very brave for embracing a subject like this, and the way she represents it is also brave: she’s walking along a difficult and somewhat dangerous road, thinking about the project as a performative as well as personal experience, too. It’s easy to work together, and that’s an important part of the mentorship. When we met in person at the Forecast Forum it was clear we got along—that’s fundamental, because the program is almost a year long!
Majer: The ICA Miami is hosting the work-stay. What role does the institution play in the project?
Montoya: The ICA hosting this work-stay was really about connecting with one particular person, the Institute’s Curator of Programs Gean Moreno, who runs the Art + Research Center. There, he brings in people from all over the world throughout the summer to hold seminars. I’ve attended those seminars for the past three years, and that’s where I learned about some of the issues included in my project. Many of the things we’ve learned about, I had experienced in my life and just couldn’t articulate what they were, or know what they were called. Going to those seminars was significant. And they’re attended by locals, so some collectives have been formed here as a result of this program.
Cirio: It’s interesting to work with an art institution in Miami. Sue was already in touch with the ICA, so it’s great that Forecast has been able to reinforce this institutional partnership with a young artist.