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Pathogeographies: or, Other People ’s Baggage

Friday, June 15, 2007–Saturday, July 07, 2007

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Pathogeographies: or, Other People ’s Baggage, is an exhibition organized by Feel Tank Chicago, which features art, performances, and activities devoted to the landscape of political emotion. Acting as a counterpart to think tanks, Feel Tank Chicago (Lauren Berlant, Debbie Gould, Mary Patten, and Rebecca Zorach) describes the landscape of political emotion and asks viewers to discuss their feelings about politics.

Through their critical engagement with the emotional temperature of the body politic, Feel Tank Chicago shines a spotlight on emotions big and small—depression, anxiety, rage, numbness, fear, and many others – that people often think of as purely personal, not political. Feel Tank suggests, in contrast, that daily life is full of politics—politics that take place in many different sites and situations (school, meetings, the street corner, the city, and the nation). Those politics produce emotions and are also fueled by them. Modeled on the Situationists’ psychogeography, but substituting pathos (feeling) for psyche (the soul), Pathogeographies emphasizes the emotional investments, temperatures, traumas, and ephemeral experiences, which circulate throughout the political and cultural landscape in ways that cannot be mapped empirically, but are best indicated allusively.

Drawings, photographs, zines, and print and video documentation are on view in the gallery, accompanied by site-based performances, artists ’ books, and websites. From the Library of Radiant Optimism to Cranky, the person lingering with A.I.D.S., Pathogeographies includes over 50 projects by groups and individual artists.

The public is invited to participate in Pathogeographies in numerous ways. A Festival of Political Emotion will be held at Gallery 400, in which visitors can view performances and take part in various activities, exploring their feelings about home, current events, and the sound of melancholy. By checking out and wearing artist Gretchen Vitamvas ’s camouflaged El Wear, gallery-goers are able to feel inconspicuous on the El. To investigate whether an object can fix their feelings, audience members can test out a psychological prosthetics therapeutic object, or vent their political outrage using the Rant Recorder. A visitor can help define the vocabulary of political emotion by writing and editing terms in Feel Tank Chicago ’s Feel [tank/Tool] Kit, or open suitcases stored in Collective Material Exchange ’s Left Luggage installation to see what other people ’s baggage looked like. At Pathogeographies, one can listen to dreams of soldiers stationed in Iraq, speak Bush-ese to discover how that felt, loiter for freedom, investigate the relationship between geo-political policy makers, the weather, and one ’s feelings, or vent one ’s rage by beating an old car with a sledgehammer. A Fifth International Parade of the Politically Depressed will be held, along with participatory workshops, round table discussions, a twenty minute opera, a letter writing project to super-max prison inmates, and much more.

What is at stake in such a project? Some might argue that despair is the pervasive/prevailing emotional current right now in many political communities—where the only “belief” is in our collective and accumulated failures—of stopping the war, of building a creative and effective left. The political arena seems either unthinkable or out of reach, eliciting intense cynicism from people whose votes are not counted, whose needs are ignored, whose grievances have no impact, and for whom “politics” signifies little but abuse of power. An unending sense of emergency is matched only by a corresponding sense of alienation, of not “knowing what to do,” and often, of not knowing what to think and how to feel. And yet, like so many, we persist; we are moved, not only by necessity, but by a relentless search for joy, for a life that can be called good and just. Can hopelessness be transformed? Is there anything useful about guilt? How might we collectivize our despair and our joys? To explore all these pathogeographies, Feel Tank Chicago calls on the audience for their ideas, energy, and participation.

Pathogeographies: or, Other People’s Baggage was commissioned as one of the projects in the 2007 At the Edge: Innovative Art in Chicago
series.

Related:

MEDIA COVERAGE

“Independence Day Blues.” Chicago Tribune, July 5, 2007, Metro Sec. 2.

Olson, Marisa. “Pathogeographies.” rhizome.org, May 8, 2007.

Illinois Humanities Council. “Pathogeographies.” June 26, 2007.

Artist Biography

Place Holder Image Square 225x225Feel Tank Chicago is a Chicago-based group composed of activists, artists, and academics that engages both in critical research and political activism. Feel Tank is organized around the thought that public spheres affect worlds at least as much as they are effects of rationality, rationalization, and institutions. The project studies theoretical, historical, and aesthetic materials engaged with political affects and emotions. They have focused on collecting negative political emotions, arguing that many United States citizens and occupants have been left without optimism for the kind of transformative agency that might/ought to have been provided by participation in the political public sphere. Among the emotions they’re interested in are detachment, discontent, coolness, hopelessness, and ambivalence.

Feel Tank was founded by Lauren Berlant, professor of English at University of Chicago; Vanalyne Green, professor of Fine Art at University of Leeds, England; Debbie Gould, a sociologist of political feelings at University of California, Santa Cruz; Mary Patten, writer and video artist with School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Rebecca Zorach, art historian at University of Chicago.

PRESS RELEASE

Feel Tank Chicago
Pathogeographies: or, Other People ’s Baggage

Gallery 400
Chicago, IL
An At the Edge: Innovative Art in Chicago project
June 15–July 7, 2007

Opening Reception: Friday, June 15, 2007, 5–8 pm

The exhibition features art, performances, and activities devoted to the landscape of political emotion.

Most people understand what it means to have feelings about politics, but we don ’t always talk about them in public. Feel Tank Chicago (Lauren Berlant, Debbie Gould, Mary Patten, Rebecca Zorach) shines a spotlight on emotions big and small—depression, anxiety, rage, numbness, fear—all products of daily life, school, meetings, the street corner, the city, the nation. Drawings, photographs, zines, and print and video documentation by over 17 groups and artists will be on view.

The public is invited to participate in Pathogeographies in numerous ways:

On Saturday, June 16, the Festival of Political Emotion will be held at Gallery 400, in which visitors can view performances and take part in numerous participatory activities, exploring their feelings about home, current events, and the sound of melancholy.

Feel inconspicuous on the El with artist Gretchen Vitamvas ’s El Wear, camouflage suits for public transportation that can be checked out and worn by gallery-goers.

Can an object fix your feelings? Test out a psychological prosthetics therapeutic object, or vent your political outrage using the Rant Recorder.

Ride on Carole Lung ’s mobile textile production unit, built to recreate lost clothing for Hurricane Katrina survivors as part of her project “Re-Dressing New Orleans,” and read survivor stories.

Help define the vocabulary of political emotion by writing and editing terms in feel tank Chicago ’s Feel [tank/Tool] Kit.

Open up suitcases stored in collective Material Exchange ’s Left Luggage installation and see what other people ’s baggage looks like. A plethora of suitcases—beautiful, funny, angry, provocative, contemplative—will be available for viewing by gallery viewers.

S*M*A*S*H, a “car bash,” will be held on Sunday, June 17. A sledgehammer, gloves, hardhat, goggles, and an old automobile will be provided. What will you inner demons do?

Join in the Fifth International parade of the Politically Depressed, held on July 4.

Feel Tank has an extensive website relating to the project: www.feeltankchicago.net

Print Collateral

Postcard: Pathogeographies: or, Other People’s Baggage – Reception

EXHIBITION SUPPORT

Pathogeographies: or, Other People’s Baggage is supported by the College of Architecture and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago, and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Special thanks to the jury that selected the 2007 At the Edge
projects: Romi Crawford (Director, School of the Art Institute, Visiting Artist Program), Lisa Dorin (Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art, The Art Institute of Chicago), Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (artist), Sumakshi Singh (artist), and Lorelei Stewart (Director, Gallery 400).

EXHIBITION CHECKLIST

Body Politic

BLW

Workshops, 2007

Salem Collo-Julin

S*M*A*S*H*, 2007
Performance

Cranky P.W.A.

Cranky, the Person Lingering with AIDS, 2007
Web-based project

Feel Tank Chicago

Festival of Political Emotion, 2007

Fifth Annual International Parade of the Politically Depressed, 2007

Mapping the Body Politic, 2007

Micro-cinemas, 2007

Theaster Gates

A Potter’s Story, 2007

Sheela Murthy

Economies of Touch, 2007
Performance

Dewayne Slightweight

I Want to Know the Habits of Other Girls, 2007
Opera, 20:00 min.

subRosa

Love is as Strong as Death, 2007

T.A.M.M.S.

Don’t be a bystander!, 2007

travis

WEEDS: Political Emotion Leads to the Resurrection of War, 2007

Dan S. Wang
Listen and Feel, 2007

Left Luggage

Laura Davis

My Eighties Self, 2007

Sarah Dierck

Security Devices, 2007

Jessica Findley

What Did You Bring Me?, 2007

Paul Hazelton

Carrier, 2007

Sarah Kaiser

Free Samples, 2007

Kali

Ritual Guerilla Mummification, 2007

MalSal

Maldonado-Salcedo Baggage, 2007

Dustin McGahan

Operation Red Tape, 2007

Mark Schatz

Travel Case for Lost Maples, 2007

Matthew Slaats
Timed Change, 2007

Moving Company

Julie Boyer and Sara Rabinowitz

Triage, 2007

CAFF Collective

Cheap Art for Freedom, 2007

Drawn Lots (Juan Juarez, Michael K. Julian, Jeremy Lundquist, and Regan Golden-McNerney)

Drawn Lots, 2007

Derek Erdman and Maria Perkovic

Launch, 2006–07

Jerome Grand and Amber Hasselbring

Renaming BUSH Street, 2007

Meredith Haggerty

Public Movement Troop, 2007

Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

Psychological Prosthetics, 2007

Jennifer Hines

Carried Baggage, 2007

The Institute for Infinitely Small Things

A Case for Feeling Insecure, 2007

Carole Lung (Frau Fiber)

Re-Dressing New Orleans, 2007

Mrs. Rao ’s Growl (Sheelah Murthy and Anuj Vaidya)

LAUGH, 2007

Erin O’Brian

Vietnamese Suitcase, 2007

Megan Ransmeier

Singing Melancholia, 2007

Charlotte Saenz

Suitcase Project: ORD-BEY-ORD, 2007

Andi Sutton

CrossPollenNation, 2007

Gretchen Vitamvas

Transit Camouflage, 2007

Raw Material

Kristoffer Ardena

In Search of Lost Memory, 2007

Andrew Dodds

Theodoreau, 2007
Cut and paste paper model

The Friends of William Blake

The New Yorkers’ Guide to Military Recruitment in the 5 Buroughs, 2007
60 page book

Bonnie Fortune (with illustrations by Becca Taylor)

Radical Grandmothers, 2007

Katina Papson

With love, Dad, 2007

Slow Feeling

Mary Walling Blackburn
This Dream, This Frequency, 2007

Julie Cook (in collaboration with Psychocologist Lisa Isaacs)

Duende: A Time for Healing, 2007

Joan Dickinson

pretty, pretty… pretty over there too, 2006–
Photographs

Ferd Eggan

Revolution is an Eternal Dream, 2007

Feel Tank Chicago

Feel Kit, 2007
Web-based project

Anya Liftig

Loomed, 2007
Performance

Paul Matosic

A journey ’round my suitcase, 2007
Film

Laurie Palmer

Cloud Cover, 2007

Lydia Panas

Imminent Fear, 2004

Asher Pandjiris

When the journey is the safe thing, 2007

Claire Pentecost

A Beautiful Trial and Error Life, 2007

Lavie Raven

Graffiti Workshop and Hip-Hop Education, 2007
Workshop

Rachele Riley

Once a Day, 2007
Web-based project

Bea Santiágo Muñoz

Densa, Pequeña, and A. Listens, 2007

Mary Scherer

The Index of Absence, 2007

Lian Sifuentes

Corpus Projecti, 2007
Performance

Edra Soto Fernandez

Solo Practice, 2007

Exhibition Checklist – Body Politic (expanded)

Body Politic brings participants and guests together to check in, assess, and collect themselves. It describes the ephemeral events happening outside the gallery: micro-cinemas, performances, presentations, readings, workshops, discussions, demonstrations, an opera, a festival, listening selections, a disco, a parade. Body Politic events are concentrated on weekends and in the final week of Pathogeographies. They give us a running tally of our emotional temperature.

BLW

Workshops, 2007

BLW develops public recitations (re-enactments) of significant recordings in the history of radical media – speeches, interviews and so on.

We consider the role of media in radical practices: how do video recordings, or other new media, act as repository for memory and/or vehicle for interjection? How does the act of re-playing activist video recordings both instill the current moment with the spirit of resistance and possibility while, simultaneously, elucidating the impossibility of such optimism now? Can we, through an embodied recitation of radical speech, give this act of “play back” a different outcome?

BLW will conduct workshops to re-enact the 1969 recording of the final interview of Fred Hampton, conducted by the Videofreex in his apartment in Chicago, where he was subsequently assassinated.

Salem Collo-Julin

S*M*A*S*H*, 2007
Performance

S*M*A*S*H* is a public service and a fundraiser for Feel Tank Chicago’s Pathogeographies events and exhibition.

Tools:
one junk vehicle (beater; drained of fluids and glass popped out. A shell of plastic and steel waiting for impact)
empty parking lot for a few hours
timer and whistle
goggles and gloves
tarps

The Plan:
$5 = thirty seconds. You and the decommissioned vehicle. What would your inner demon do?
$20 = 30 minutes

The public is invited one at a time to do damage, and everyone feels better except for the vehicle.

Cranky P.W.A.

Cranky, the Person Lingering with AIDS, 2007
Web-based project

Morbid queer thoughts of the Cranky P.W.A., who also shares meditations on radical frivolity, living (or dying) with liver cancer, remembering Michael Bumblebee, and much more.
http://crankypwa.blogspot.com

Feel Tank Chicago

Festival of Political Emotion, 2007

On June 16, the first Saturday of the Pathogeographies exhibition, Feel Tank will host a Festival of Political Emotion at Gallery 400 including a chance to participate in George Bush’s daily thoughts about Iraq. The festival embraces a variety of projects with artists on hand to elicit your participation and measure the emotional temperature of the body politic. How do you carry your pile of political feelings? How do you cope with Other People’s Baggage? What is to be felt, and what is to be done?

Fifth Annual International Parade of the Politically Depressed, 2007

Feel Tank Chicago hosts the Fifth Annual International Parade of the Politically Depressed, on July 4, 2007. Depressed? It Might Be Political!

Mapping the Body Politic, 2007

A series of talks and performances by Pathogeographies participants on Saturday, June 30, 12–6 pm.

Micro-cinemas, 2007

Feel Tank hosts multiple micro-cinemas between June 15 and July 7 as part of Pathogeographies.

Theaster Gates

A Potter’s Story, 2007

From the pottery wheel, I will sing three pieces, one of Dave the enslaved potter who, being shot in the leg, cannot run away from his enslavement. The second piece will be a response to surveillance cameras and the third will be singing a series of city planning policies and land use ordinances that seem a direct response to eradicating the presence of non-conforming citizens from the public sphere.

Sheela Murthy

Economies of Touch, 2007
Performance

The problematic economic and affective exchanges between client and therapist, john and prostitute, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and their constituencies, are all explored in this durational deep-tissue massage/performance piece. Clients will be solicited beforehand as well as “walk-ins.” The massages/performathon will take place in a small nomadic shelter inside the gallery, and will benefit the International Rescue Committee, specifically to support health services for sex workers in Southeast Asia.

Dewayne Slightweight

I Want to Know the Habits of Other Girls, 2007
Opera, 20:00 min.

A twenty-minute opera, based on the comic of the same name, performed by Dewayne and four life-size sewn and stuffed “friends” – Gilda Radner, Limbo Tomboy, Gordon Gaskill, and The Great Auntie. At the center of this project is the longing for community, a family of lovers, each person attracted to the idea that one ’s happiness depends on everyone else ’s: an imagined queer community. How can we strongly imagine things we have never experienced, and use these yearnings, hopes, and desires as a political force?

subRosa

Love is as Strong as Death, 2007

A participatory feast with the theme of Love is as Strong as Death, addressing the concept of “political love.”

T.A.M.M.S.

Don’t be a bystander!, 2007

The T.A.M.M.S. Poetry Committee will be holding a letter-writing event for the 286 prisoners housed in the Tamms Supermax prison in Tamms, Illinois. These men are in solitary confinement 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They have no human contact. They have no library, no classes, no enrichment programs, no religious congregation, no group activities, no communal space. Food is served in the cell. They are not allowed phone calls. Visitation, which is done from behind glass, is rare or non-existent. Tamms is 250 miles from Chicago, with no access via public transportation, and it is generally prohibitive for families to make the journey. The inmates suffer from extreme sensory deprivation, loneliness, depression. These conditions constitute torture, a fact recognized by both the U.N. and by Amnesty International. In spite of their situation, the men are trying to hold up. It means a lot to them to know that people are concerned about their situation. Come, read some of their letters, meet members of their families, and be part of a group mailing experience.

travis

WEEDS: Political Emotion Leads to the Resurrection of War, 2007

Every time I see you naked I offer my death bed but you won ’t take it. Strange, my flower bed cannot hold you. In my prime I tried to burn away my winter weeds but I breed and then I decay. Strange, my flower bed cannot hold you.

Dan S. Wang

Listen and Feel, 2007

As a return of the long dormant Selections series, I will be playing and speaking about songs having to do with politics and feelings, including feelings of Anxiety, Depression, Apathy, Impatience, Irritation, Sorrow, Paranoia, Righteousness, Confusion, Inspiration, Ecstasy, and maybe even a little Outrage. This will be a listening party/presentation of recorded music presented in two sets: Part One will be about twenty songs, maybe more, mixed in with my commentary; Part Two will be just music for the rest of the evening without commentary. The presentation will include a mini-set of songs from artists who came out of Chicago’s South Side. A free pamphlet text assembled to accompany the event will be made available.

Hyde Park Art Center
Monday, July 2, 2007, 6:30–9:30 pm

Exhibition Checklist – Slow Feeling (expanded)

Sometimes we feel like the world is moving too fast, and we’re too reality-based to catch up. We go to Slow Feeling not to escape it all, but to find a space for different paces. In Slow Feeling, you might look, listen, rest, gather your outrage, address your terrors, consider your sympathies, address your depression. Slow Feeling includes 2D projects on the walls of the gallery, web and video viewing stations, and a variety of installations.

Mary Walling Blackburn

This Dream, This Frequency, 2007

Dreams are a kind of suitcase. The historian Mechal Sobel claims that dreams provide an ethical reckoning ground where citizens work out potential reactions to political situations. Charlotte Beradt, in her collection of German dreaming during the Nazi era, found that those who resisted in dreams also resisted in waking life.

For the past year I have been collecting and recording fragments of dreams of soldiers stationed in Iraq. This Dream, This Frequency will use hand-built micro radio transmitters to send the recordings out into several different Chicago neighborhoods. As walkers or drivers navigate a preordained route, they will be able to tune into the station and listen to the dream until they move out of range. What had previously coagulated in the dreaming mind of a soldier is mechanically fed into the ether, the causeway of the public consciousness.

Julie Cook (in collaboration with Psychocologist Lisa Isaacs)

Duende: A Time for Healing, 2007

Joan Dickinson

pretty, pretty… pretty over there too, 2006–
Photographs

I was assigned a tiny office in a building on Michigan Avenue in the south loop two years ago. Although the office itself is small, there is a large, wall-sized window which opens the wall in an easterly direction, affording me a view of such magnificence as I have ever known in Chicago.

During the first year in my tiny office I stared at Grant Park, its seasons, its usages, its statuary; at Lake Shore Drive, its poignancy, motion, the push and pull of it, the stops and starts; at our lake, our great lake, Lake Michigan, its weathers, flows, mists, the birds that blow atop it like paper, the sky above it, the paper in the sky above it.

During the second year I began to take pictures. Almost everyday. Almost everyday at the same time. I send them to my friends, colleagues, and students. Some send me messages in return in the form of email and in the form of pictures. One friend sent me a picture of her child, a daughter.

Ferd Eggan

Revolution is an Eternal Dream, 2007

A series of interviews with people who are thinking about the implications of their work for radical transformation of global society: Hank Jones, one of the SF 8, the Black Panther veterans charged with the killing of a police officer at Ingleside Station, San Francisco in 1971; gay activist Jeffrey Edwards on gentrification and LGBTQ issues in Chicago; video-bloggers extraordinaires, Ryanne Hodson and Jay Dedman; anarchist/artist/activists Dara Greenwald and Josh McPhee; artist, writer, educator, advocate of Puerto Rican independence and former political prisoner Elizam Escobar, and others.

Feel Tank Chicago

Feel Kit, 2007
Web-based project

Feel Tank Chicago presents the Feel Kit, a wiki of keywords on political emotion.

All are welcome to participate in writing the Feel Kit. To receive a registration passcode to participate in the site, send a request to bodypolitic@gmail.com.

Anya Liftig

Loomed, 2007
Performance

Performed at Mess Hall, May 13, 2007

I use my body as a loom to weave environments together using movement. Each performance is as attempt to incorporate the artist and the viewer into the fabric of the moment. Working like a photograph, I use the knotting motion of textile production to capture a moment in time.

Paul Matosic

A journey ’round my suitcase, 2007
Film

This film is part of ongoing work retracing a journey taken through Europe between 1942 and 1949, reconstructed through a study of old photographs and inscriptions scratched onto the actual case. The journey started in Zagreb and ended in Lancashire UK.

Laurie Palmer

Cloud Cover, 2007

Cloud Cover reflects the modification of our environment from energetic sanctioning of coal power production, unrestricted industrial growth, a car and highway culture, and massive consumption. It also affects our emotional well-being directly — people living with less light get SAD. But weather systems, like emotions, are unpredictable, and our weather’s response to capitalism is not based on a one-to-one linear relation. In this project, the intensity of atmospheric lighting in a windowless room (powered by a photovoltaic array) is regulated by the intensity of available light outside, while data collects, comparing current temperatures with historic averages.

Lydia Panas

Imminent Fear, 2004

In the summer and fall preceding the 2004 presidential election, I interviewed 50 people about their fears. I asked them 19 questions on the nature of fear. The questions were open-ended to allow individuals to answer them as they wished. The questions were both personal and universal. They touched upon people ’s beliefs about themselves and how they see the world.

Asher Pandjiris

When the journey is the safe thing, 2007

Claire Pentecost

A Beautiful Trial and Error Life, 2007

A project that begins with an interesting story, generates an interview, becomes a drawing based on listening, a diagram of empathic reflexivity… not a series of portraits, but a search for pleasurable and non-linear ways of knowing a life, of re-telling someone’s story, finding other routes to unfold a case study of desires. How do people determine their own paths of learning, create form from circumstance, end up surpassing themselves? What makes someone care about those things we call political?

Lavie Raven

Graffiti Workshop and Hip-Hop Education, 2007
Workshop

University of Chicago students participated in a graffiti workshop with Lavie Raven, Prime Minister of Education of the University of Hip Hop, on May 5, 2007

Participants:

Neal Curley, D A Doering, Owen Kohl, Mia Ruyter, Bethany Strout, Jadine Collingwood, Janet Hong, Sofia Narvaez Gete, Alta Buden, Joe Miller, Lucy Chang, Rose Schapiro, and Meredith Haggerty

The workshop was followed by another one led by Raven on hip hop education, urban farming, and political activism.

Rachele Riley

Once a Day, 2007
Web-based project

Once a Day is a web-based artwork that maps an online landscape of concepts associated with stylized violence. Automated searches are carried out daily. At the intersection of six searches, the collected images, text, and video will be recontextualized. New narratives of text and moving images will build each day to tell the story of a shifting landscape of caution, hope, silence, and sensibility.

http://www.racheleriley.com

Bea Santiágo Muñoz

Densa, Pequeña, and A. Listens, 2007

Mary Scherer

The Index of Absence, 2007

Lian Sifuentes

Corpus Projecti, 2007
Performance

Performed at Midway Studios at the University of Chicago, May 11, 2007

Edra Soto Fernandez

Solo Practice, 2007

Solo Practice encounters an open space for narratives by isolating a person playing drums. The drummer delivers a musical interpretation as if he were playing it with a band in real time, leaving silent spaces for an imagined and silent accompaniment. The incompleteness is presented as the subject of the piece. Excerpt: The Star-Spangled Banner (author: Francis Scott Key)

Exhibition Checklist – Raw Material (expanded)

A space and a concept that provides tools and inspiration for gallery visitors to brainstorm, discuss, create, make suitcases (real or conceptual), and initiate Moving Company projects of their own. Maybe you want to ferment revolution; maybe you want to make a political doodle or an emotional cut-out. Raw Material contains art-making supplies and equipment and space to use them, printed matter that you can take away, and a Wall of Accumulation where you can post your stuff, before you wander into Slow Feeling.

Kristoffer Ardena

In Search of Lost Memory, 2007

This public intervention consists of found photos (mainly dating from around the Civil War until the fall of the Franco dictatorship – the time of Spanish Diaspora) that I found in dumpsites, flea markets in Madrid, Spain. At the time these photos were made Spain had a considerable emigrant population, as a recent immigrant to Spain I wanted to somehow link the experience of displacement by searching for clues as to the whereabouts of the people and places in each photo. The project consists of making flyers in the typical Lost-and-Found style to search for people in the photos or anyone that have any relationship to it.

Andrew Dodds

Theodoreau, 2007
Cut and paste paper model

A cut-out-and-keep model of a backwoods cabin based on the hideaways of Henry ‘Walden’ Thoreau and Theodore ‘Unabomber’ Kaczynski.

The Friends of William Blake

The New Yorkers’ Guide to Military Recruitment in the 5 Buroughs, 2007
60-page book

As a counter argument to the grinding machine of military recruitment during the Iraq War, fighting in Afghanistan, and elsewhere, The Friends of William Blake, a small collective of artists, writers, and activists, has created The New Yorkers ’ Guide to Military Recruitment in the 5 Boroughs – a pocket-sized, sixty-page, comprehensive guide to local military recruitment and resources for counter recruitment in NYC. Made in the spirit of The People’s Guide to the RNC which they published in 2004, this book is a small part in the worldwide effort for peace & justice. It seeks to inspire hope while provoking conversation, informing potential recruits, and giving activists a new wrench in their toolbox.
http://www.counterrecruitmentguide.org

Bonnie Fortune (with illustrations by Becca Taylor)

Radical Grandmothers, 2007

A new “Free Walking” zine, combining research from two projects, “Free Walking” and the Library of Radiant Optimism. The Library involves researching and collecting books which express an optimistic spirit of self-education and freedom. The Free Walking project (freewalking.org) is an ongoing series of peripatetic investigations and accompanying zine that contain writing about walks, walking, or time spent outside. Radical Grandmothers will feature the stories of, and walks with, Kirsten Dufour and Margit Czenki, both of whom were involved in optimistic self-education and self-publishing movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The zine will also contain interviews with various members of the Raging Grannies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raging_Grannies.

Katina Papson

With love, Dad, 2007

“…the general condition of archives involves the subordination of use to the logic of exchange.”
– Allan Sekula

A collection of letters I have received from my father will be sent to the gallery for analytical, emotional and psychological “unpacking.” Chicago is the mediating state between New York City (where my father lives) and San Francisco (where I live.) By inviting multiple voices to the interaction, there is a distribution and distillation of power in the search for truth, neutrality and love.

Exhibition Checklist – Left Luggage (expanded)

Using materials left over from the MCA’s Massive Change exhibition, the artist collective Material Exchange designed the Left Luggage installation to house, circulate, and provide a viewing space for Other People’s Baggage. Baggage includes suitcases bags, and containers that you can view, check out, manipulate, take for a ride – in some cases, take away with you. (Access depends on the instructions for each project, available in a card catalogue.) Suitcases might excite your outrage, soothe your depression, entertain your anxieties, pique your politics. Interested in making your own suitcase? You might try out the tools available in Raw Material.

Laura Davis

My Eighties Self, 2007

Wanting to unload the baggage of my hefty adolescence, I scanned much of my teenage journals, sketchbooks and photos to a blog. The dematerialization of this material allowed me to examine it in a way that I otherwise would not have – as the burden that it was. To express the burden of the physicality of the materials, I have created sculpture of two boulders out of the source. Please take a CD or a card and take a look at the blog: http://myeightiesself.blogspot.com and leave comments, related stories, or unresolved eighties baggage here.

Sarah Dierck

Security Devices, 2007

Tools provide safety and a feeling of well-being. Sara Dierck creates interactive sculptures in the shape of tools, specifically concerning fear and security. Sara gives spectators the chance to use the objects she makes, and, as part of Left Luggage, the opportunity to take some home.
http://saradierck.com

Jessica Findley

What Did You Bring Me?, 2007

This D.I.Y. gift-bearing and -receiving suitcase lets you leave a gift, make a gift or take a gift. Art supplies, gifts, and gift contents are included, but anyone is welcome to add to or take from the suitcase.

Paul Hazelton

Carrier, 2007

A transparent suitcase containing shadowy objects of dust, how one might expect to see a suitcase through an x-ray security screening system at the airport. It ’s as though the x-rays, leaving only the coatings of dust, had completely disintegrated the actual objects. With the ever-increasing invasiveness of technology, you wonder from where the threat will come.

Sarah Kaiser

Free Samples, 2007

My suitcase was inspired by the pharmaceutical industry. I recall the day when my psychiatrist gave me some free samples of some SSRIs (Serotonin Selective Re-uptake Inhibitors), such as Paxil and Lamictal. Aside from side effects such as fatigue, weight loss, and minor electric zaps, they have been really great. (I hope that you can sense my sarcasm!) However, now that I’m hooked and don’t have insurance, they are quite expensive. Would you like a free sample? (The samples I’ll be handing out are only sugar pills, commonly known as “Smarties.”)

Kali

Ritual Guerilla Mummification, 2007

The Guerilla Mummification Kit is a variation on our Home Mummification Kit. While the latter features everything needed for a traditional approach, the former provides only wrapping materials such that it is better suited to extemporaneous freeform mummifications. The wrapping materials are quite varied: aluminum foil, string, tapes of various kinds, festive wrapping papers and ribbon, cellophane, etc. We will seek out subjects for mummification such as fried chicken, gas pumps, and furniture. The process will be recorded by a before and after photo, as well as by brief musings in a diary/sketchbook.

please see: http://www.kaliartifacts.com

MalSal

Maldonado-Salcedo Baggage, 2007

There is an inextricable relationship between guilt and migration. The sociopolitical implications intrinsic to the unpacking of this guilt becomes manifested and complicated within familial relationships. Within the volatile theater of being “here,” but performing “over there,” an enduring liminal identity and space is mapped. Displacement (social, political, spiritual, economic, physical and psychological) becomes generational, until becoming borderline criminal. Maldonado-Salcedo embodies the impossible truth and reconciliation attached to an exodus.

Dustin McGahan

Operation Red Tape, 2007

Dustin McGahan explores overtones of frustration, antipathy, and ambivalence within American social attitudes through the construction of a futile device. The “Red Tape Machine,” a symbol of the average attitude toward large corporate and governmental systems, seeks to remind us of our distaste for obfuscation, complexity and inefficiency by warning you of impending “BUREAUHAZARD”.

Mark Schatz

Travel Case for Lost Maples, 2007

In an otherwise dry and rocky region in Texas, there exists an isolated forest of maple trees surviving in a moist micro-climate. Mark Schatz, a midwesterner now living in Texas, too, is meticulously crafting custom travel cases for these trees to raise the idea of displacement and the connections felt between individuals and regional landscapes.

www.unorganizedterritories.blogspot.com

Matthew Slaats

Timed Change, 2007

Timed Change is a game about making small differences. Participants are asked to go out in the city and make a positive change to their environment. This is timed using a stop watch and documented using a Polaroid camera. After returning to the gallery, you will write your name, the change, and time on the photo before placing it in the suitcase. The fastest time and best change will be the winner. I bet that I can beat you?

http://www.matthewslaats.com

Exhibition Checklist – Moving Company (expanded)

Moving Company projects moved out into the world in early 2007. Some went as groups; some went solo. Some took baggage with them; some relied on mental tool kits. Moving Company tests the emotional temperature of the political world (and sometimes that ’s a scary place to be). Moving Company intervenes: engages in covert activities, performs alternative identities, collects data. Makes scenes, leaves traces. Some Moving Company projects have left their luggage out in the world. Some have left it in Left Luggage.

Julie Boyer and Sara Rabinowitz

Triage, 2007
Handmade woven cots

Julie Boyer and Sara Rabinowitz use two hand-made woven cots to intervene in public spaces, giving passersby an opportunity to hang out and appreciate the company of others. Our purpose is to facilitate connection and pause in our increasingly technologically mediated world.

CAFF Collective

Cheap Art for Freedom, 2007
Free t-shirts and stickers

We intend to investigate the production of bad feelings by “misusing” public spaces (for example, loitering, carrying boom boxes around, etc). We will make maps and objects that will allow others to participate in these activities and solicit others to make maps of their own; maps will be posted and solicited in a variety of media. Our initial solicitation, or “suitcase,” will be “worry lines”: clothes lines erected in public places that invite people to air their dirty laundry by writing down worries and pinning them to the lines.

A number of events invite participation. First: Sat. April 21 outside McCormick Center on the lakeshore path in the pm (during Green festival).

Drawn Lots (Juan Juarez, Michael K. Julian, Jeremy Lundquist, and Regan Golden-McNerney)

Drawn Lots, 2007

Drawn Lots is interested in starting a dialogue concerning how people feel about their hopes for owning land and/or a house/home.
We will be interacting with a variety of communities to gauge personal responses to property.
Our research will feed into Google image searches which will in turn serve as a resource for drawn versions of these attitudes towards ownership.
drawnlots.blogspot.com

Derek Erdman and Maria Perkovic

Launch, 2007

Launch is a quiet, public intervention that involves inserting messages attached to objects into the everyday experience of Chicagoans. The collaboration involves the participation of people we have yet to meet, in and around Chicago, through personalized messages attached to hundreds of helium filled balloons, business cards, and mini parachutes. An archive of responses will be created to form an invisible solidarity.

Jerome Grand and Amber Hasselbring

Renaming BUSH Street, 2007

Renaming BUSH Street is a survey that will take place on Bush Street in San Francisco. Playing on the mistaken association of the name Bush Street with our 41st and 43rd Presidents, the survey will record how passersby feel about the nomenclature of this street. The survey is purposely framed on highly contested presidencies to elicit affected responses, which indicate how we define and construct our shared political and cultural ideologies in the urban environment.

Wednesday May 2, 7–9 am, Bush and Battery
Tuesday May 8, 3–5 pm, Bush and Powell
Saturday May 19, 5–7 pm, Bush and Fillmore
Friday May 25, 11 am–1 pm, Bush and Presidio

Meredith Haggerty

Public Movement Troop, 2007

My work is an ongoing exploration of spaces, the way they affect my self and my own desire for alignment, self-control, and change that might be achieved through a kind of self-consciousness. For Pathogeographies, I have proposed a troupe called Public Movement. Participants should bring habits or movements from structured events such as work or rush hour and recreate them in a new space. The goal is simply to reroute these activities as both internal and external events.

May 18, 5 pm: slow walking in downtown Chicago
June 30: habit swap

Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

Psychological Prosthetics, 2007

In May, Psychological Prosthetics launched a re-designed website, conducted training sessions, and took trainees out with them to test new products and services on the streets of Chicago. These included two new objects: the 30 Second Rant Recorder, an electronic hand-made device to activate outrage, and the PP Band-Aid device to bandage shame and soothe apathy. They also offered to custom design suitcases to house strangers ’ emotional baggage.
Psychological Prosthetics provides a range of services to discretely handle your emotional baggage in political times. From our 30 Second Rant Recorder™ and instant PP Band-Aid relief™, to our custom-designed suitcases, we explore relationships between emotional health, happiness, consumption, and the political state.
Join our team, design your own suitcase, and take street surveys.
Each trainee gets a free ‘start up’ pack!

To check out our website:
http://www.psychologicalprosthetics.com

Jennifer Hines

Carried Baggage, 2007

I am interested in the idea of the figurative baggage we carry with us when we leave home. Our “suitcase” can carry physical items, but also sentimental, emotional, and psychological items as well. I would like to collect responses from passersby in various places in Chicago and ask what they feel they always carry with them when they travel away from home. The responses will be written by the passerby on a piece of paper, then collected in a vintage suitcase. After collecting the responses, the suitcase will be available for others to read the reponses, thereby allowing people the opportunity to glimpse how others feel, creating a more intimate connection between people.
Data collection occurs on Memorial Day weekend, May 26–28

The Institute for Infinitely Small Things

A Case for Feeling Insecure, 2007

Transporting unmarked packages to insecure locations in Chicago.
On May 18 and 19, The Institute for Infinitely Small Things tested for insecurity in Hyde Park, Woodlawn, Little Village, and Millennium Park. Results will be available in the exhibition at Gallery 400.

Carole Lung

Re-Dressing New Orleans, 2007

After my most recent stay in post-Katrina New Orleans, I realized a tool for rebuilding everyday life in the city of New Orleans is commemorating the loss. With this in mind, I will implement the portable garment reconstruction unit (a bike-powered portable sewing machine) and ride from FEMA trailer to FEMA trailer in the Gentilly neighborhood, asking residents to describe a lost garment, then I will rebuild the garment and leave it with them. The artifacts of the project: portable garment reconstruction unit, fabric remnants, patterns, and suitcase with blue tarp reproductions of the garments, will available for engagement during the exhibition.
The project takes place May 15–June 13, New Orleans, LA in the Gentilly neighborhood/8th Ward.

***

After a week of prepping the machine and getting my stuff together, I hit the Gentilly Terrace neighborhood seeking clients who are willing to use my services. No takers yet. The few people I spoke with seemed curious, but couldn’t think of anything for me to do. So I left a flyer and moved onto the next trailer. I’m sure once folks get used to seeing me ride around, they will realize I’m not going anywhere, so they might as well take me up on my offer of free textile worker services.

***

It’s been an intense couple of weeks. It’s hard to get people talking. My first tactic of going from FEMA trailer to FEMA trailer didn’t work too well. People thought the idea sounded good and were grateful for the offer, but were not interested in taking me up on a sewing project. So starting this week, I have staked out a site, in front of an abandoned strip mall, made a sign that says “free sewing service,” and am going about constructing tablecloths and napkins, which I randomly leave at a FEMA trailer. I am taking pictures of each house I am leaving an item at.

***

Following the first week of failed attempts to engage participants in the Gentilly neighborhood who needed garments re-constructed, I began the second week of the project setting up shops in unoccupied commercial real estate. During these production performances, I constructed TARP-WARE Domestic Linens, which consisted of a set of six FEMA tarp/fabric place mats and coordinating napkins. These NEW ORLEANS PROUD TO BE HOME items were then randomly left at FEMA trailers in Gentilly.
I have continued setting up shop for two weeks; the locations consisted of a Po-Boy shop, a restaurant, a gas station, a Billiard house, and a boy ’s home, where Louis Armstrong learned how to play the trumpet.

Friday, June 8, I had my first customer! She needed to have two pieces of fabric sewn together to use as a throw to recover her couch and chair. When she stopped, three other people stopped, and each had a different story of seeing “the sewing lady” around the neighborhood, and each also had something for me to do. Looks like I ’m going to be busy until Wednesday when I head back up to Chicago. I feel like I ’m running out of time, and the project is just getting off the ground, which means I will have to come back to New Orleans.

Mrs. Rao ’s Growl (Sheelah Murthy and Anuj Vaidya)

LAUGH, 2007

Laughter is a powerful disruptive tool. In difficult times like these, it reaffirms our connections and helps unite our voices, literally, into one loud and indignant guffaw against larger repressive forces. Reminiscent of the therapeutic goals of the Laughing Clubs in India and the children ’s game HA HA HA, the public performance and spectacle of LAUGH embraces many aspects of laughter – release, healing, aerobic workout, community-building, and protest. LAUGH has been performed at the Federal Plaza and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; a backyard picnic; a wedding in Santa Fe, New Mexico; at the Washington Memorial in Washington, D.C.; and at the Haymarket Martyrs Monument in River Forest, Illinois. This iteration of LAUGH will be an extension of Feel Tank Chicago ’s Fifth International Parade for the Politically Depressed.

Erin O ’Brian

Vietnamese Suitcase, 2007

A Vietnamese suitcase is a cardboard box. The “suitcase” serves a temporary purpose, unlike the somewhat indestructible western version, made for on-going travel. As I position myself at locations around various cities (federal building, Vietnamese neighborhood and Vietnam memorial), I solicit people to write/reflect on what they think of Vietnam on Joss paper and put the paper in my “suitcase”. After sharing the thoughts/reflections on Vietnam that people record/write onto the Joss paper, I will burn them on a lunar holiday.

http://www.erinobrien.org

Los Angeles performance: March 2, 2007
Chicago performance: April 28, 2007
Seattle performance: late May, 2007
Washington D.C. performance: late May, 2007
Burning of Joss paper
Final performance, Chicago: first lunar moon in August

Megan Ransmeier

Singing Melancholia, 2007

You say: I feel like there is no hope.
We sing: I feel like there is no hope,
IIIIIIIII feel liiiiiiiike there is noooooo hoope.
I feeeeeel liiiiiike theeeeeeere iiiiiiiiiis
nooooooo hooooope. Ifeellikehereisnohope.
You: make sound on our arms with whatever you have.
We: make sound on each others’ arms with whatever we have.

This group activation of object, phrase, and each other will be taking place in multiple public spaces and invites all who are interested.

First public version of project occurred April 14th at 2pm at the Water Tower in downtown Chicago.
Tentative future dates: April 28th and May 12th

Charlotte Saenz

Suitcase Project: ORD-BEY-ORD, 2007

This Suitcase Project arose out of my intense sadness and anger during last summer’s war in Lebanon, as I wondered whether bombed bridges and roads could lead my loved ones to safety. It is an attempt to connect my communities here with my communities there — a simple idea that led to many unexpected connections, emotions, and challenges. For some of the participants, it was just an exchange, for others a fragile and momentary connection, yet others took it as an opportunity to express their own emotions, in letters and packages prepared with much thought and care for a stranger over there.

Andi Sutton

CrossPollinNation, 2007

In CrossPollinNation, I will conduct two city walks, from six to ten miles, one in Boston and one in Chicago, both reflecting the race and class changes of the city neighborhoods that the routes pass through. I will carry two suitcases filled with heirloom squash seeds and planting materials (squash are notorious for their cross-pollinating tendencies). When someone on the street offers to help me carry the suitcases, I will plant a squash seed for her/him to cultivate. The suitcases will lighten as more people offer to help. Both walks end when I reach a cultivation site where people I encounter along the way will be able to plant and tend to their seeds together for the rest of the growing season.

Boston dates: Sunday, May 20th, starting at 11 am in Harvard Square, Cambridge, and ending whenever I reach the end of the bus route in Dudley Square, Roxbury.
Chicago dates: June 21–25

URL: http://www.bittermelon.org

(The National Bitter Melon Council)

Gretchen Vitamvas

Transit Camouflage, 2007

Gallery visitors will be able to check out briefcases containing L Wear: coveralls printed with a graphic camouflage design inspired by the interior of L train cars and also military camouflage. Participants will simply ride the train and “blend in” to the car ’s confined space — the suit, a visual representation of a desire for security, both physical and emotional. The literal blending of the L Wear suit, and also its stand-out oddity, are meant to encourage the captive audience to consider their own personal presentation, the uniforms they wear to blend in and be accepted, and how they read others based on appearance.

www.gretchenvitamvas.com/subwear