5 Questions

5 Questions About Socially Engaged Art in Chicago  has been relaunched on NTS!

5 Questions was a project initiated in 2008 with Creative Time and AREA Chicago, organized by Daniel Tucker and Nato Thompson with editing support from Abigail Satinsky and Mairead Case. As AREA shifts to a new web design it made more sense to bring this content over to NTS because it is the direct precursor to what we are doing today.. Go online and check out interviews with: Mike Bancroft, Wafaa Bilal, Sara Black, Brett Bloom, Aquil Charlton, Salome Chasnoff, Marianne Fairbanks, Edra Soto Fernandez, Nicole Garneau, Theaster Gates, Amanda Gutierrez, Craig Harshaw, David Isaacson, Jennifer Karmin, Nance Klehm, Demetrio Maguigad, Edmar and Rachel Marszewski, Mark Messing, Anne Elizabeth Moore, Sonjanita Moore, Laurie Palmer, Amy Partridge, Mary Patten, Coya Paz, Dan Peterman, Jon Pounds, Aay Preston-Myint, Toufic El Rassi, Laurie Jo Reynolds, Elvia Rodriguez-Ochoa, Deborah Stratman, Shannon Stratton, Brad Thomson, travis, Dan S. Wang, and Rebecca Zorach.

Check out the questions below to see who said what:

Participant and Afflilated Organization Bios (circa 2008)

  • Mike Bancroft is an interdisciplinary artist/founder of Co-op Image, a youth Arts Education and Entrepreneurship organization. He works in newish media and handy-craft to develop community installation. He makes a mean hot sauce, and enjoys long walks on the beach. Cooperative Image Group creates public arts education programs with youth of communities in need. Through collaboration between Chicago area artists and youth, Co-op Image strives to strengthen community through multimedia arts education.www.cribcollective.org
  • Iraqi born artist Wafaa Bilal has exhibited his art world wide, and traveled and lectured extensively to inform audiences of the situation of the Iraqi people, and the importance of peaceful conflict resolution. Bilal’s 2007 dynamic installation Domestic Tension placed him on the receiving end of a paintball gun that was accessible online to a worldwide audience, 24 hours a day. Newsweek called the project “breathtaking” and the Chicago Tribune called the month-long piece “one of the sharpest works of political art to be seen in a long time,” and named Bilal its 2007 Artist of the Year. http://www.wafaabilal.com
  • Sara Black’s solo and collaborative work evolves around an interest in how materials affect and are affected by the social systems within which they circulate. She received her MFA from the University of Chicago in 2006, and teaches sculpture at Northwestern University and SAIC. Sara Black is a member of Material Exchange. Material Exchange is Chicago-based collective of artists and designers who invent objects, processes, and actions that work at the back end of production to re-imagine designed objects and materials that have been stripped of their utility, fulfilled their given purpose, have been replaced.The projects of Material Exchange have been exhibited at the Smart Museum of Art , The Experimental Station, the MCA in Chicago, The Betty Rymer Gallery, Gallery 400,  the Hyde Park Art Center and more.
  • Brett Bloom  is a member of Temporary Services.  Temporary Services is Brett Bloom, Marc Fischer, Salem Collo-Julin. We produce exhibitions, events, projects, and publications. The distinction between art practice and other creative human endeavors is irrelevant to us. http://www.temporaryservices.org/
  • Aquil Charlton is currently the Executive Director at The Crib Collective, a live-in not-for-profit organization that recognizes the power in young people to create positive change. He has added to community life by developing young artists (poets, singers, rappers, graffiti artists) and getting students involved in making decisions and evaluating policies which affect their daily lives.  The Crib Collective uses Social Entrepreneurship to train, support and partner with young people across the cultural divide between N. Lawndale and Little Village. The Crib Collective lives and works in and for these two neighborhoods comprising of the Greater Lawndale Community. http://www.cribcollective.org
  • Salome Chasnoff is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, installation artist and media activist. She has been an arts educator for more than 20 years in university and community settings, and has produced more than 25 works, several dedicated to expanding media access to the diverse stories of women and youth. Salome Chasnoff founded Beyondmedia Education in 1996 and is currently the Executive Director. Beyondmedia Education’s mission is to collaborate with under-served and under-represented women, youth and communities to tell their stories, connect their stories to the world around us, and organize for social justice through the creation and distribution of media arts.
  • Marianne Fairbanks  works collaboratively with Jane Palmer under the moniker of JAM. Their work has been included in exhibitions such as Beyond Green which originated at the Smart Museum of Art in 2005 and continues to travel to museums in the US and Canada, including The Museum of Art and Design in NY, and The Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati. Marianne is a cofounder of Mess Hall, an experimental cultural space in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago that seeks to cultivate community through workshops, symposia, and exhibitions. She is also cofounder of Noon Solar, a small business that creates sustainable bags and totes that incorporate flexible thin film solar panels to charge cell phones and mp3 players, a business that grew out of one of JAM’s projects. Mess Hall is an experimental cultural center in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. We are located at 6932 North Glenwood Avenue and can be found online at www.messhall.org. We have been operating on a generosity-based economy since 2003.
  • Nicole Garneau is a performance artist based in Chicago. Her work is informed by feminism; struggle against white supremacy; the politics of the female body; sexuality; spirituality; violence against women and children; the prison-industrial complex; the death penalty; her experiences living and working in Moscow, Russia; and the 1995 Chicago heat wave disaster. http://www.nicolegarneau.com
  • Chicago trickster, Theaster Gates Jr. moves between many cultural institutions making music, asking questions, building things and hanging out. His recent performance and visual work concentrate on Black Church Aesthetics and has received play in Europe. Temple Exercises, his most recent work will be shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art, January 2009. http://theastergates.com
  • Amanda Gutierrez received her MFA in Performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008 and currently lives and works in Pilsen. http://www.guvarchive.net/
  • Craig Harshaw is a performance artist and the Executive Director of Insight Arts. Insight Arts is dedicated to increasing acesss to cultural work that supports progressive social change movement building. Through a variety of programs including visual art performance, and new media, their work addresses issues related to economic justice, environmental justice, social justice, and human rights. http://insightartsliberation.org/
  • David Isaacson: The Chicago Reader once said “Give Noam Chomsky a speedball, a sense of humor, and a penchant for the absurd and you’d have David Isaacson.”He is a founding member of Theater Oobleck, for which he has written fourteen plays, including “Rumsfeld’s Attic” and “Letter Purloined.” As an actor, he has appeared in thirty Oobleck shows and performed with the Curious Theater Branch, Redmoon, the Splinter Group, and Theater for the Age of Gold. He has also been featured on Public Radio International’s “This American Life.” Theater Oobleck is a collective dedicated to producing and performing original works of theater for the benefit of, and at low or no cost to, the people of Chicago, Illinois, and elsewhere. Oobleck’s artists are directly engaged with all aspects of theart-creation process, and directly engaged with the concerns of the community at large. To this end, our works are all written by members of the ensemble; developed by the group, working in concert to create a collective vision without an overseeing director; presented in open rehearsals, allowing audience input before the work’s premiere; and “free if you’re broke,” fostering an unmediated engagement between performer and audience. http://www.theateroobleck.com
  • Jennifer Karmin, Anti Gravity Surprise co-founder, has presented interdisciplinary projects at a number of festivals, artist-run spaces, and on city streets.  She teaches creative writing to immigrants at Truman College and works as a Poet-in-Residence for the Chicago Public Schools. Anti Gravity Surprise was founded in 2001 by activists Kathleen Duffy and Jennifer Karmin.  We are a public art collaborative that perform cultural research.   Bringing our projects to neighborhood spaces, we create and exhibit multimedia artwork focusing on social issues. Our projects culminate in community and neighborhood events. http://www.antigravitysurprise.org
  • Nance Klehm is pro-biotic, a radical ecologist, urban forager, mad scientist of the living, and knower of the inner resources. http://www.salvationjane.net/
  • Ed and Rachael Marszewski: We produce Proximity Magazine, Lumpen Magazine, and co-organize Version Festival and Select Media Festival. We also organize the spaces: Reuben Kincaid Project Room, Co-Prosperity Sphere and Eastern Expansion. We also work collaboratively and individually on other projects in Chicago and elsewhere.
  • Mark Messing is a musical agitator. Co-founder of Mucca Pazza, The Human Television Network and a collaborator with Redmoon Theater for ten years, he is currently working on an opera for the street with Mickle Maher of Theater Oobleck. Mucca Pazza is a 30 piece circus punk marching band based out of Chicago. http://mucca-pazza.org/
  • Anne Elizabeth Moore is the author of Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity (The New Press, 2007), called “an anti-corporate manifesto with a difference” by Mother Jones. Her work recently brought her to Cambodia, to teach a group of young women self-publishing in oppressive Southeast Asia. Co-editor and publisher of now-defunct Punk Planet, founding editor of the Best American Comics from Houghton Mifflin, media critic, and exhibiting artist, Moore’s work erases boundaries between mass and tiny audiences, exploring issues of distribution, freedom of expression, and democracy. www.annelizabethmoore.com
  • Sonjanita Moore  is currently President of the Board of Directors of Kuumba Lynx. Kuumba Lynx is dedicated to providing programs for creative expression & literacy for Chicago’s youth and their families so to increase social consciousness, community analysis & exchange, self-reflection, global action, inner peace, and universal freedom. Our goal is currently achieved through three core areas: Drop In Arts & Arts Residencies, Kuumba Lynx Performance Ensemble, and Community Cultural Events.  www.kuumbalynx.org
  • Laurie Palmer is an artist, writer, and teacher.  Most recently, she has been visiting and writing about sites of industrial mineral extraction. She is also involved in local neighborhood projects on Chicago’s West Side. http://alauriepalmer.net/
  • Amy Partridge is one of the founding members of the CAFF Collective.  She trained in theater and performance studies and has worked with the San Francisco Mime Troupe and Bread and Puppet in Vermont.  She currently works as the Associate Director and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Gender Studies Program at Northwestern, where she teaches courses on culture and politics.
  • Mary Patten is a visual artist, video-maker, writer, educator, occasional curator, and political activist. Her work is fueled by a desire to address the contradictory worlds of politics and art-making. She collaborates with Feeltank Chicago, “politicizing depression since 2003.” Feel Tank Chicago is a collective of artists, academics, and activists who have been working together since 2002. Depressed? It might be political.  We are for a pedagogy of complex feelings, for a surrealist and imaginative politics that embraces ambivalence, the ridiculous, and the raw. www.feeltankchicago.net
  • Coya Paz is the cofounder of Teatro Luna, Chicago’s first and only all-Latina theater company.  Coya was raised in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia, and Brazil, and moved permanently to the United States in the late 1980’s. She is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University, where she also holds her MA. She has appeared in numerous independent film and performance projects, and enjoys singing in the shower. Teatro Luna is Chicago’s only all-Latina Theater Company and Ensemble, showcasing Latina and Hispanic women in a creative forum of social, political and educational outreach. http://www.teatroluna.org/
  • Dan Peterman is an artist whose work addresses issues of recycling, ecology, urban development and social integration. He is currently an Associate Professor of Art at University of Illinois at Chicago and is the founder and President of the Board of Directors of Experimental Station. The Experimental Station is a not-for-profit (501-c-3) incubator of innovative cultural, educational, and environmental projects and small-scale enterprises. They offer workspace at discounted rents, meeting space, technology, and the economy of shared resources. Occupants are then asked to give back to the community by offering lectures, exhibitions, or other types of events that are free and open to the public.
  • Jon Pounds joined Chicago Public Art Group in 1983 where he created collaborative public artworks such as murals and playground sculptures. In 1989, Pounds became Executive Director of CPAG, committing himself to developing the ability of the organization and its artists to respond more fully to community needs. Pounds has made presentations on community public art processes throughout the United States. In 2001, Jon Pounds received a Community Service Fellowship from the Chicago Community Trust to support the development of new ideas. During the fellowship, he studied the intersection of urban planning, community organizing, and public art while traveling extensively in Europe and North America. The Chicago Public Art Group mission is to unite artists and communities in partnership to produce quality public art and to extend and transform the tradition of collaborative, community involved, public artwork. www.cpag.net
  • Aay Preston-Myint: I am an artist, educator and activist based in Chicago, currently running a collective art studio in the Pilsen neighborhood. Though my practice is spread across several media and contexts, the common threads through my work are interactivity, social engagement, and having fun. Chances Dances is a dance party which functions to bring together the varied LGBTIQ communities of Chicago. All gender expressions are welcome. www.chancesdances.org
  • Toufic El Rassi is a college lecturer in history and political science. He is also a writer and a graphic novelist and commentator on Middle Eastern affairs. His book Arab in America is now available. He currently lives on the north side of Chicago. http://www.touficelrassi.com
  • Laurie Jo Reynolds develops and coordinates projects that combine art, activism, and research. Her current endeavors, with Tamms Year Ten, the Tamms Poetry Committee, Chicago County Fair and the S.O. Work Group, have focused on prisoners, ex-offenders and the costs of human warehousing. Tamms Year Ten is a coalition of prisoners, ex-prisoners, families, artists and other concerned citizens who have come together to protest the misguided and inhumane policies at Tamms C-MAX, and to call for an end to psychological torture. They have initiated a program of cultural, educational and political events to publicize Tamms after ten years of operation. http://www.yearten.org/
  • Elvia Rodriguez-Ochoa has been active as a multi-disciplinary artist, educator and has exhibited in many galleries and centers in Chicago, Minneapolis, and has had work tour various states in Mexico and the U.S. She is a member of the Polvo Artist Collective. Polvo is a collective which consists of Miguel Cortez, Elvia Rodriguez-Ochoa and Jesus Macarena-Avila. Polvo’s history includes organizing artistic and cultural venues with Chicago/Pilsen-based community spaces. They have been organizing and curating art exhibits since 1996 showcasing installation projects, new media and performance by a diverse group of emerging and established artists.
  • Edra Soto is a Chicago based artists. She is MFA graduate of SAIC. Her art has been exhibited internationally. Upcoming presentations: Rowland Contemporary and The Art Institute of Chicago as part of the Artists Connect lecture series. http://edrasoto.blogspot.com/
  • Deborah Stratman is a Chicago-based filmmaker and artist interested in landscapes and systems. She’s currently working on some films about the milieu of elevated threat, what Amercians mean when they invoke ‘freedom’ and paranormal occurrences in the information age. http://www.pythagorasfilm.com
  • Shannon Stratton was one of several ‘co-founders’ of threewalls in 2003. She remains the director and chief curator of programs with the help of an advisory committee, a team of dedicated volunteers and a new Executive Director, Elizabeth Chodos. She teaches at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in addition to working independantly as a writer and cultural worker. Stratton is currently working on the exhibition and anthology of the same name, Gestures of Resistance: The Slow Assertions of Craft, with artist and writer Judith Leemann. threewalls is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to contemporary art practice and discourse. Through the residency program(s), SOLO project, SALONS, yearly symposium and publications like Phonebook and Paper & Carriage, threewalls aims to provide opportunities for experimentation, chance, critical dialogue and context for artists, curators and writers who are at pivotal points in their careers. www.three-walls.org
  • Brad Thomson lives in Chicago.  He has worked with political groups such as Food Not Bombs, Kick Boeing to the Curb and Iraq Veterans Against the War, while performing with the Neo-Futurists and the drag king troupe, the Chicago Kings.
  • travis was born in Itawamba County, MS. He received his BS & MA from Northwestern University. He is currently the VP/Treasurer for the Chicago chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights. www.travistravis.com  American Veterans for Equal Rights is a non-profit, chapter-based association of active, reserve and veteran servicemembers dedicated to full and equal rights and equitable treatment for all present and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Dan S. Wang is an artist, printer, writer, and organizer who works in Chicago and Madison. He is the child of immigrants, has lived his whole life in the Upper Midwest, and was born in 1968. http://www.prop-press.net/
  • Rebecca Zorach writes and teaches about art history, theory, performance, and politics. With Feel Tank, she has made t-shirts, stickers, magnets, websites, signs, videos, performances, and powerpoint presentations. She also collaborates with Feel Tank Chicago.

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