Life in the Fast Lane: A Cautionary Tale

Welcome to art in the precarious era of impending doom.

Life in the Fast Lane: A Cautionary Tale

They went rushin’ down that freeway,
messed around and got lost
They didn’t care, they were just dyin’ to get off
And it was life in the fast lane
Life in the fast lane

                        –The Eagles, “Life in the Fast Lane”

The anxiety of any impending doom might be inherent in the victims’ bodies: this is probably why it’s rumored that even emotional trauma can be passed down through ancestral D.N.A. Nicole Doran, a classically trained painter, forgoes her usual soft detail in the canvases adorning the space’s interior, opting instead for quick lines and abstract shapes, drawn with a hurried hand straight out of the tube. The fear in her fingers is obvious, the color alarming (stark black on bright red), but the viewing experience feels less like panic and more like puzzles. Doran is piecing something together here, some vision of the future, and she builds it directly into the space’s layout, even its muddled grey floors. That color, she explains, is a literal reference to an essay by Gene Moreno—artist, writer, and director of Cannonball, a Miami non-profit arts organization and residency—from Dark Trajectories: Politics of the Outside, in which he discusses Kim Eric Drexler’s “grey goo theory.” “This theory proposes that if self-replicating nanotechnology is programmed to convert organic matter into other materials,” she explains, “they would strip the earth of all organic matter, leaving only nano-machines behind. It’s quite interesting to think about in the face of Miami’s water rise. What will come first: the water or the machines?”

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Probably the water, if the need for overconsumption continues. Adjacent to Doran’s abstract works are her paintings of women’s butts decadently covered in icing—and, above them, the video from which the inspiration was taken, spliced with scenes of Miami’s traffic and strong, woeful palm trees. Fart fetish videos, for the record, are a genre all to themselves; cakes are just one sub-category. But there’s something uniquely depressing about the bizarrely sexual destruction of what appear to be homemade tarts. “Who would go through the trouble of baking this beautiful homemade cake just to fart on it—why not buy one? It was the perfect metaphor for late capitalism,” Doran explains. “The video encompasses this beautiful, nutrient-rich, celebratory item—which to me was like regulated trade markets and consumer goods—only to render the cake as useless to its original goal of feeding many, serving as a sensual pleasure for one. This is like the behavior of the uber-rich oligarchs in the face of the limited amount of natural resources that it takes to support capitol growth. They will essentially render the earth useless.”

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Life in the fast lane, for sure. It’s a perplexing bummer for any local to watch high-rises and shopping developments popping up on Miami and Miami Beach, especially on the sensitive, easily-flooded parts of the latter (sort of akin to watching someone fart on a cake). The fantastical beauty that draws some of Miami’s capital growth in the first place is what bestows upon it its tragedy—it’ll all be gone, portioned into islands, and made, perhaps, useless. It is no accident that the Co-Worker space itself wouldn’t survive any significant sea level rise. “Water rise will render the RV unusable,” says Doran. “I wanted to signal that reminder of water rise and our fleeting need for motorcars.” A boogie board placed gingerly in the RV’s corner seems to offer a solution: we can all just float away.

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