THE MEDUSA IN MIDTOWN
Design Team: Jaime Correa
MEDUSA (25.80937, -80.19291): As part of our series on equity, discrimination, diversity, and racism, this is an ephemeral art piece to be placed at the center of Midtown in the City of Miami. The project explores the struggle between the pre-enlightenment notion of “Classical Beauty” and Edmund Burke’s idea of “The Sublime” – a celebration of dark human emotions engendering a desire to possess that which pleases us. It is based on the mythical story of the Medusa: a beautiful snake-haired woman seduced by Poseidon whose head was cut off by Perseus because she possessed the magic capacity of turning into stone anybody who put eyes on her.
The Medusa is an analogous story for numerous Latin immigrants in America; a story which is familiar to those experiencing what Eduardo Bonilla-Silva calls “Racism without Racists” – the capacity of those in power to deny human dignity and fair opportunities to another group of people because they do not look/act the same or because they may turn those who touch them into stone; in effect, people who have had to work seven times harder than the normal white Anglo-American to achieve just about the most basic levels of socio-economic success.
The head of the Medusa is raised on four metallic pilotis and the snakes on her hair are conic sources of light for a stage shaped as a basic house archetype colored red to represent the inner guts of America. The red stage is accessed via a moveable aircraft stair through a door with the background of a swelling mouth - representing the way in which most immigrants arrive to American territories and the fears of those leaving their countries searching for a better future. The other two sides of the cubic Medusa display written messages contradicting the political discourse of the last century regarding common qualifiers applied to a vast number of discriminatory policies.
We are used to hearing that “WE ARE NOT” this or that but, we are indeed this, that, and much more … we are alive … we are thriving … we are important … we are solid … we are humans. In spite of all appearances, we do exist … we do exist … yes, we do.