This fall has been wonderfully busy with an exhibition at School of the Art Institute's Sullivan Galleries. The exhibition titled "Opening the Black Box: The Charge is Torture" is a work in progress towards reparations and official acknowledgement from the City of Chicago for the torture of city residents at the hands of Chicago Police Officer Jon Burge and others. The exhibition was conceived by organizers of the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials project (CTJM) who drafted an open call for speculative memorials to the survivors of the state violence. Burge and officers under his command-- all white-- tortured over 110 African American men and women into confessions between the years of 1972 and the 1993.
I helped organize this show and made a poster that includes a timeline and information about the call and process. If you'd like a poster or would like this show to travel to you, please let us know. We're working on exhibiting the work all over the city as a way to continue the activism and legal work of so many people, most importantly the survivors themselves.
*photo above is by Sarah Ji, taken at the opening.
Over the last year I've been teaching an art class at Stateville Prison. Working with many, many wonderful people including incarcerated students, other volunteers at Stateville and activists and educators in Chicago, I've co-organized an initiative there called Prison and Neighborhood Arts Project. It's a long-term commitment to incarcerated artists and scholars, it's an exchange between between free and unfree worlds, it's an act of solidarity with people all over the city and country working in the movement to end policies of mass incarceration. Check out our website created by myself and Ryan Griffis, who I'm internally grateful to for web and creative support. The website and other aspects of the project are made possible by the Propeller Fund, Sunday Soup (mentioned below) and donations from generous people.
REGIONAL RELATIONSHIPS is in an archive/exhibition at Franklin St. Works. The exhibition is called "Working Alternatives: Breaking Bread, Art Broadcasting, and Collective Action". It's on view from October 27, 2012 – January 13, 2013. From their site: "The exhibition looks at three threads of alternative art space histories and examines how engaged, inclusive strategies are still being used to break down perceived barriers between contemporary art and its audiences. The themes covered in Working Alternatives are conviviality and food, artists who use media (newspapers, television, and radio) as platforms for artworks, and artist collectives in the US, explored through an open archive gathered specifically for this exhibition." The exhibit includes Group Material, Basekamp, Alison Knowles, Conflict Kitchen, Temporary Services, SubRosa, Howling Mob Society and more." Definitely worth checking out.
New REGIONAL RELATIONSHIPS projects by Fereshteh Toosi and Neil Brideau was launched in October. It's a really wonderful project packed with a really funny comic, audio CD and a dish towel that features the geography of Yok, a noodle dish of mysterious origins. Check it out!
June 2012: It's here! A book that I co-edited with Bonnie Fortune and Rozalinda Borcila. It's a second book Compass book on the possiblities and real makings of a radical Midwest. In addition to my own contributions, the book also has interviews and texts by Phil Bellfy, Jen Blair, Rozalinda Borcila, Nicholas Brown, Alan Corbiere , Jill Doerfler , Bonnie Fortune, Ryan Griffis, Abbilyn Harmon, Brian Holmes, Sarah Kanouse, Nicholas Lampert, Sarah Lewison, Jenna Loyd, Don Lyons, Dylan Miner, Faranak Miraftab, Shiri Pasternak, Claire Pentecost, Ryan Rice, Matthias Regan, Kristin Schimik, Heath Schultz, Daniel Tucker, Dan S. Wang, and Mike Wolf. To learn more about the authors, the book and to get your own copy, see our website or get a copy of the book from Half Letter Press.
Also on Half Letter Press... Ryan Griffis and I were asked to be part of the READING ROOM series representing Regional Relationships! We got to select new books for their store and suggest some free items (downloadable). Check out the page!
Ongoing: I've been working like crazy on a new initiative called the Prison-Neighborhood Arts Project. The project is a collaboration/exchange between men at Stateville Prison and teaching artists. I've been teaching a class at Stateville over the spring and summer. Starting in the fall of 2012, a few others will join me to teach a visual art and poetry/writing class. The classes will yeild work that will be read and exhibited in a Chicago neighborhood. We were recently granted a generous Sunday Soup grant! to buy books for next semester's classes. Over the summer I've worked with Erica Meiners and Aviva Futorian to create a guest lecture series at the prison. We are really excited about this and I will have a website dedicated to the project soon.
June 1-July 6: I was invited to be in "The Tipping Point of Me and We", curated by Tempestt Hazel, at the LIttle Black Pearl in June 2012. I created a small installation that is an exceprt of a project I've been working on with Ryan Griffis titled "From the Bottomlands to the World". The show is accompanied by a lovely catalogue in which Rebecca Zorach writes a nice essay on my and Nicolas Lampert's work. Find more information here on the essay and the work.
Come out Jan. 20th from 5-7pm at Gallery 400 on the UIC Campus to see and installation Global Cities, Model Worlds. Ryan Griffis, Lize Mogel and I created the project this summer at the Studio for Creative Inquiry this summer, with support from the Miller Gallery and the Graham Foundation. Now the peice will be showing with a project titled "The World Finder" by the Pocket Guide to Hell team.
Also Lize, Ryan and I will be giving a talk at the schoool, also on Friday Jan. 20 but at 12 noon in the Lecture Room in the same building as the gallery.
Men in solitary confinement write us with requests for magazines; we connect their requests with the surplus of well traveled people (like yourself, perhaps). For as little as 500 Frequent Flier miles you can give the gift of a year-long subscription to someone who is confined 23 hours a day often, with out reading materials, radio or TV. Check out this blurb about the project on Hyperallergenic and contact me if you can donate your miles. This project is a collaboration with Temporary Services and Tamms Year Ten.
Regional Relationships recently released RR02, by artist Claire Pentecost. Claire created a beautiful piece about the connections between 2 cornbelts and the troubling relationships of GMO crops. Contact us at Regional Relationships for more on this fantastic mailing!
Recently, Ryan Griffis and I have been screening and discussing a project in progress titled "From the Bottomlands to the World" (we've been playing with titles, so this is the newest one). The project is in collaboration with a wonderful scholar Faranak Miraftab and looks at global/rural relationships in the town of Beardstown, IL. Dana Sperry invited us to Youngstown State University's McDonough Museum of Art to give a presentation to a great group of students, and coming up soon, we'll screen the project at the Non-Stop Institute in Yellow Springs, OH. A final video chapter will be finished this summer.
This summer and fall a group of artists and activists have kicked off a very important project to "memorialize the Chicago Police torture cases." I hope to engage a few men from the prison book club and beyond, who I have come to know over the years. See the website and schedule of events.
Over the month of June 2011, I worked with collaborators at a residency on an upcoming project titled "Global Cities, Model Worlds". We were hosted by the fantastic Studio for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. For a month we worked alongside other artist-residents and got to hear about the great projects they are working on. It was an exciting month! Our project will be shown at the Miller Gallery on the CMU campus in Sept. for the Pittsburgh Biennial. Oh and this project was generously funded by the Graham Foundation!
Ryan Griffis and I finally got support for a project we have been working on for several years now, provisionally titled "Transnational Rural". Thankfully, support came from the Illinois Arts Council's Individual Artists Support grant. We have been working with the amazing Faranak Miriftab, who is a scholar in Urban Planning. We are making a series of videos based on her research in Beardstown, IL. Check out uur collection of video clips and photos. We will be screening videos in the fall of 2011...so more to come.
A new architecture magazine called Soiled is printing some old and unpublished photographs of mine. It's gonna come out soon. This is their 2nd Issue, titled Skinscrapers. Based on the first issue, it looks like they do beautiful work!
Regional Relationships will have a space at the MDW Fair in Chicago! Organized by Threewalls, Roots and Culture and Public Media Institute the MDW Fair is a gathering of independent art initiatives, spaces, galleries and artist groups from the Chicago metropolitan area. On April 23-24, come over to The Geolofts, 3636 S. Iron Street, Chicago. The MDW Fair is a manifestation of the collective spirit behind the region’s most innovative visual cultural organizers, focusing on the breadth of work done here by artists and arts-facilitators alike.
On Saturday from 6-7 PM we'll be on a panel titled "The artists’ perspective" with groups The Post Family, ACRE, Floor Length and Tux, and The Suburban!
The James Gallery at CUNY Graduate Center has curated a fantastic program called "Caesura". Lize Mogel and I presented the "Siting Expositions" project. Ryan Griffis, Sarah Kanouse and Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga presented their projects (which are awesome, I recommend checking them out!) in the "Stories in Reserve" book. That same day we also did a launch at Blue Stockings Bookstore who will carry the book. A collage from "Architectures for a Comfort Class" will be shown at Platform Gallery at UCSB's Interdisciplinary Humanities Center this winter. Ryan and I are presenting part of our research archive from "Transnational Rural" (an on going project we've been working on with the stellar Urban Planner, Faranak Miraftab), in "Designated Drivers". DD is a project organized by Temporary Services for their show "Social Mobility: Collaborative Projects with Temporary Services". Come check that out and get your downloads in April at the Block Museum on the Northwestern University Campus. And in the summer, LIze Mogel, Ryan Griffis and I will be in Pittsburgh for a month in preparation for the first iteration of our expansion on Siting Expositions. The project will be part of the Pittsburgh Biennial at the MIller Gallery on the CMU campus and will be a traveling project... so more soon!
This January, Tamms Year Ten sent a new letter to men at Tamms Supermax prison to inquire about magazine subscriptions. That is to say, unfortunely, there is still a need for Supermax Subscriptions. If you have frequent flier miles, there are men in solitary confinement that would love to use them (for magazine supscriptions). Please let me know and we will put your miles to good use.
Ryan Griffis and I kicked off the beginning of Regional Relationships, a mail subscription project invested in exploring relationships between and among natural, cultural and industrial landscapes of a region. We will commission artists to make distributable projects and send them to subscribing individuals and institutions. See the website and consider a subscription!
Oh! and last but not least, our neighborhood is starting a maple syrup collective! I think we will be the first maple syrup producers in a 'urban' setting (so we are not urban and not rural, I think the marketing calls it 'micro urban' and that's just silly). And it's sugaring season! So if you are interested in this, please check out the website.
Aug. 7- Sept. 4, 2010: Come over to Roots and Culture Contemporary Art Center in Chicago to see "Hey, We're All Beginners Here", organized by Mike Wolf. I've contributed a new project for the show titled "Experiments in Struggle".
Please come out for a special screening on Sept. 3, at 8pm. We'll have a conversation about recent setbacks and successes in organizing around prison reform in Illinois. Lori Jo Reynolds of Tamms Year Ten will be there to share their recent struggles.
"Siting Expositions: Vancouver" was included in a book titled "Stories in Reserve" by Temporary Travel Office. The project is a collaboration with Lize Mogel and Ryan Griffis; we explored False Creek, an area of Vancouver that was developed by two global, mega-events-- the 1986 World's Fair and the 2010 Winter Olympics. To get a copy of this project, map, audio tour or the Stories in Reserve book, see TTO website!
June 22-26 2010: Compass participants gave a workshop at the 2nd ever U.S. Social Forum in Detroit, MI. The workshop, titled "Cartography with Your Feet" explored the Midwest Radical Cultural Corridor and made visible connections we have in the region and globe. On the way there, we met up with residents of the Black Oaks Center-- another amazing example of how people are spending time in a place and building relationships for a different kind of living.
For more images from the workshop and USSF activities, see my flickr page.
Here's a bit of info on show:
The Jan. 2010 exhibition at SPACES, "...in a most dangerous manner", features artworks, publications, screenings and discussions that question how ‘economic crises’ have often been instrumentalized to restore divisions in class and power. Curated by Steven Lam and Sarah Ross, the exhibition examines the current economic conditions not as a crisis, a temporal anomaly, nor a failure in governmental regulations, but rather a cycle of speculative overtures that are common in the evolution of global financial markets. With contributions by an international roster of artists, "...in a most dangerous manner" exhibits work that name and locate the various physical and material sites that have been invested, degraded, and subsequently contaminated by a culture of market driven speculation.
Aritsts: Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber, Julia Christensen, Elaine Gan, Benj Gerdes and Jennifer Hayashida, Lize Mogel, Claire Pentecost, Ohio University School of Art Critical Regionalism Initiative, Katya Sander, and Allan Sekula.
Essays by: Jeremy Beaudry and Meredith Warner, Gifford Hartman, Jennifer Hayashida, Brian Holmes, Yates McKee, Shiri Pasternak and Rebecca Zorach
Oct. 1, 2009: A group of 11 of us-- for now known as the Compass Group-- have work in the Heartland exhibition at University of Chicago's Smart Museum. The show runs from Oct. 1.- January 17; the exhibition catalogue will be available in Fall of 2009. Our contribution to the show will also be featured in AREA's issue #9 edited by Dan Wang and Rebecca Zorach. If you'd like a free copy of this map (you'll get to see the other side!) go to the show, or e-mail me.
Sept. 15-28, 2009: I'll be in Kuopio, Finland, participating in the ANTI Contemporary Arts Festival. I'll be making new works which will be used in the City of Kuopio. All of the projects in this festival take place throughout the city. Check out the ANTI website for more details. Check back here for info on the work after Sept.
Sept. 17, 2009: Actions: What You Can Do With The City is traveling to Chicago! It will open Sept. 17 at the Graham Foundation. If you missed the show in Montreal, come see it in the Midwest! It will close at the end of January.
Sept: 11, 2009: I don't have anything to do with this show other than promoting it to you! It's going to be fabulous! so be sure to check out Everybody: Visual Resistance in Feminist Health Movements, 1969-2009 at I Space in Chicago. This show is organzied by Bonnie Fortune and it's gonna rock!
Check out Block by Block's first projects! Block by Block Cooperation is a group of neighbors interested in neighborhood experiments. We hosted a seed swap and now BBB neighbor Sam Vandergrift is tapping about 30 of our street's maple trees! The syrup will be used for a street-pancake breakfast. Check the site for more summer activities.
Interested in spatial politics, geography, planning and the like? Check out the City from Below Conference, hosted in Baltimore this year. I'll be there with Sarah Lewison, Ryan Griffis, Brett Bloom, and Claire Penecost. We're hosting a panel entitled "The Region from Below" and will be talking about the MRCC's summer travels and our regional research thus far.
Students at Reed College in Portland, Oregon have created a really great week of programming for this year's RAW! I'll be there March5-7, giving a workshop using the InAction Units. The students are also organizing an show titled "Subprime". See the Reed Arts Week schedule here: RAW
Check out Testing Resistance and Archisuits in Actions: What You Can Do With the City at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal . The show opens November 26 in the Main galleries. Actions "is an exploration of how everyday human actions can animate and influence the perception and experience of contemporary cities. Seemingly common activities such as gardening, recycling, playing, and walking are pushed beyond their usual definition by the international architects, artists, and collectives featured in the exhibition. Their experimental interactions with the urban environment show the potential of a new level of participation by city residents."
Actions: What You Can Do With the City, installation view at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal ©CCA. Photo Michel Legendre
SuperMax Subscriptions is an initiative that seeks to connect a surplus provided by well-traveled citizens to a population that never gets to go anywhere: prisoners in American SuperMax prisons.
SuperMax Subscriptions asks people with surplus miles from airline travel award programs to take advantage of a popular program that allows you to exchange relatively small quantities of miles for magazine subscriptions. Miles in these award programs will often expire before it is possible to save enough of them for a free airline ticket, seating upgrade, or other costly prize. For as few as 300 miles, one could instead use these miles to give the gift of a yearly magazine subscription to a person in prison.
The first goal of SuperMax Subscriptions is to connect people in travel award programs to the entire population of Tamms SuperMax Prison in Tamms, Illinois and to provide every prisoner in the facility with at least one magazine subscription.
Supermax Subscriptions sent a mailing asking every man
incarcerated at Tamms C-Max unit if they would like to receive magazine
subscriptions: free gifts from people with surplus airline award miles
they'd like to exchange for gift subscriptions. Tamms C-Max is a no
permanent solitary confinement prison in Southern Illinois. The men
there for years on end, many for ten years. They have no communal
no phone calls, no programs, no education, no work, no librarian, and
no reading. Already, over ten percent of the population has replied to our mailing.
The magazine requests are pouring in and we have men who would like to receive everything from Newsweek to the Wall Street Journal to Horse Illustrated. Clearly the need for reading materials is dire and we are excited to start the process of helping these guys out.
Participate: Email us at: supermax [at] temporaryservice [dot] org. Tell us how many miles you can donate (minimum of 400) and we will then provide you with the name, inmate number, address, and magazine preference for a prisoner. If you provide a large number of miles, we'll provide you with information to take care of multiple requests.
Thank you for your interest! If anything is unclear, please don't hesitate to ask!
Supermax Subscriptions is a collaborative effort of the Tamms Poetry Committee, Sarah Ross, Temporary Services (Brett Bloom,
Collo-Julin, Marc Fischer) and you.
More about Supermax Subscriptions:
More about Tamms:
The Radical Midwest Cultural Corridor presents:
From June 4 to 14, 2008, a group of people traveled through Illinois and Wisconsin in search of a Radical Midwest. Continental Drift is a series of spatial-political inquiries initiated by theorist Brian Holmes and the 16 Beaver Group. This book documents an iteration of this search by a group of artists and theorists who wander the Northern Plains looking for moments of social and ecological frictions and divergences. Made up of short essays on sites and means of travel- the book is a sweet application of Lucy Lippard’s “Lore of the Local” and some kind of neo-situationist extended road trip. This is a publication that hints at ways to develop deeply contextual theory and to outlive the grids of mechanization. Stops include organic dairies, urban farms, the Black Holocaust Museum and the Experimental Station.
Contributions by: mIEKAL aND, Brett Bloom and Bonnie Fortune, Martha Boyd and Naomi Davis, Lisa Bralts-Kelly, Ryan Griffis, Eric Haas, Sarah Holm, Brian Holmes, Sarah Kanouse, The Langby Family, Nicolas Lampert, Jessica Lawless and Sarah Ross, Claire Pentecost, Dan S. Wang, Mike Wolf and Rebecca Zorach
60 pages, Published by Heavy Duty Press. $10.00.
If you are in Chicago Oct. 16th, come to the Cultural Center for an evening of discussion, coordinated by Salem Collo-Julin. This Artist at Work series is called Making Art Making Change. Join me, Aay Preston-Myint, Laurie Jo Reynolds, Zena Sakowski and Salem Collo-Julin -- "for a lively discussion at an important time."
Check out Mind the Gap: Noticing the Unnoticed opening Sept. 12 and run through Nov. 22 at the University of Colorado Gallery of Contemporary Art in Colorado Springs. "The artists in Mind the Gap call attention to negative space - the areas around intended focus. These artists deal with pauses in dialogue rather than the words spoken, small aberrations in architecture rather than the building’s looming facade, or a decrepit vacant lot rather than the complete and occupied store next door. By pointing out what is typically unnoticed, we are encouraged to re-examine our world and look around the obvious."
InAction: Preparing for a Crash will open Oct. 2, 2008 and run through Nov. 5 at the Dittmar Memorial Gallery at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. Come to the gallery on Oct. 18. for an InAction workshop; participants can check out InAction units, practice inaction and consider crashing economies.
The Audacity of Desperation is an exhibition that will travel from May -Nov. 2008. The show was organized by myself and Jessica Lawless. With over 50 artists, performers and participants, the show was an amazing act of collaborative work! The Audacity of Desperation first exhibited at the Independent Media Center in Urbana, IL and traveled to DEMO Space at PS122 in New York and Sea and Space Explorations in Los Angeles.