January 4, 2011 Octavio Campos is not dead. The Miami-born, Cuban-American multi-disciplinary artist has been quiet for a while, but now the boundary-breaker is set to unleash two new projects on us — involving a motley assortment of characters from mermaids to porn stars — that he promises will challenge our media culture and assumptions of gender and politics. Yep, he’s definitely alive.
Known for his subversive theatrical performances, Campos’s fearless and untamed work deconstructs the status quo and repositions the taboo in the spotlight. Over the past 25 years, Campos has collaborated as a dancer, performance provocateur, arts advocate, LGBT activist, educator, and choreographer in theater, dance, music, television, and film. He studied dance and composition at the State University of New York at Purchase, the Martha Graham School, and the Folkwang Schule of Pina Bausch in Germany, where he decided to stay and perform for a number of years.
After returning to Miami, he founded the interdisciplinary performance ensemble Camposition. Fortunately for the creative flowering of Miami, Campos has influenced the next generation of performance artists through master classes and workshops worldwide, including at the New World School of the Arts, the Florida Dance Festival, and the Broward Correctional Institute for Women.
1. List five things that inspire you.
2. What was your last big project?
1,000 Homosexuals, a comedy that I produced based on the 1970s Anita Bryant crusade against gay civil rights in Miami-Dade County.
3. What’s your next big project?
There are two brewing right now: Mermaids, Porn Stars, and Pigs is a one man show with guests that looks at “POPlitics” and how the media influences our world; and Please Don’t Hate Me, a series of transdisciplinary performance interventions and social experiments to promote acceptance — not intolerance — and to encourage everybody to look for the heroes within themselves, and to fight for equal rights creating a catalyst for social change.
4. Why do you do what you do?
I love to inspire others and make people laugh with my point of view on life. My favorite quote is, “Life has more imagination than we dream,” from Christopher Columbus. I believe we must engage and devour life and the world before it eats us.
5. What’s something you want Miami to know about you?
Octavio Campos and Camposition are not dead! Although I haven’t produced any work in the past couple of years, I am back and ready to take creative risks again.
What’s something you don’t want Miami to know about you?
I am secretly in love with my neighbor and Grand Dame of Miami, Judy Drucker.
Octavio Campos presents new work at the Florida Dance Festival’s Winterfest, at 8pm on Friday January 7 and Saturday, January 8 at the Byron Carlyle.
Originally published in the Miami New Times in December 2010.