We wouldn’t be Miamians if we didn’t complain about the traffic.
But here’s one begrudging acknowldgement: At least Miami traffic has a rhythm. I’m not just describing the muted heavy Reggaeton bass oom-oomphing from the Maserati next to you, but rather the daily predictability Miami traffic offers. Gridlock awaits our regular schedule with the same consistency as rainstorms in the afternoon or guests showing up late on “Miami time.” We stop and go, stop and go, the same time and place every day, and many of us have developed a strange psychic sense that warns us there’ll be traffic on our way out on Friday night, or back in Saturday morning.
According to the South Florida Commuter Services, some of us face daily commutes of 35-45 minutes each way, turning our cars into time sucks on the same routine, day in, day out. Some of us choose to spend our lives in our cars, while others, seeking transit alternatives, can choose between buses that still sit in traffic or Metrorail commutes that serve a limited geography with only one main line. There’s a steady tempo to our commute time, and it isn’t upbeat.
So what if we could embrace that rhythm and turn it into song?
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MDC Live Arts is going to do just that by making TRAFFIC JAM an interactive installation of multiple performances created by Austin-based artist Steve Parker. From 3-5 p.m. Dec. 3 on Biscayne Boulevard between Fifth and Sixth street, TRAFFIC JAM will turn our cars into an orchestra, a downtown parking lot into a concert hall, and all the sensations of our lengthy slow commute into an artistic rendering. Participants in traffic are welcome to do the most positive thing they can with their mobile sitting machine. Just be prepared to hit a few things on your gas guzzler — admit it, that might feel good!
Participants in TRAFFIC JAM can expect many opportunities to distort their car dependence, from bicycle concert bands to a crowd-sourced flash-mob-styled automobile symphony. Whether we are musically inclined or can’t read a note of sheet music, all are welcome — as are their cars — to contribute to the music. Parker’s arrangement, transcribed into easy-to-read icons and catchy tempo, is accessible to all, as long as they are willing to use their horns, windshield wipers, doors, and creative spirit to join in the song.
All vehicles and pedestrians are welcome to participate and make living art out of cars. If you’ve felt like the two hours of traffic a day, five days a week, need to be vented through a little creative expression both on your part and that of your car — that home away from home — then bring your automobile, bicycle, or own self-propulsion downtown.
Adam Schachner, a Miami native, is a high school literature teacher, community organizer, writer, avid bicycle and transit commuter.