Never the Same: How Have You Changed?

Dear Chicago Socially and Politically Engaged Artists,

In this holiday time when you might be working less or staying in more because of the cold – I wanted to pass along a question for you to consider (and respond to, hopefully, in the near future).

The question: “Describe a Chicago event or project that combined art, politics and community in a potent mix that truly changed your life?”

An example reply from my own experiences: “Ten years ago I moved to Chicago, and joined with a community of people working together to create a “campaign to reclaim all the space, land and visual culture” of the city from commodification, consumerism, and surveillance under the banner of the “Department of Space and Land Reclamation.” This locally-rooted approach engaged me, as I was more inclined to look at “free market fundamentalism” in my immediate surroundings, than to engage with the impact in far-off lands. These efforts illustrated for me an effective integration of culture and politics, where the artistic work was not subservient to dogma or agendas but pushed and complicated traditional approaches to activism and organizing. Most of my current relationships stem from the period of experimentation that DSLR provided, in its first incarnation at the near west side Butcher Shop studio spaces in April 2001, and in the subsequent projects that is spawned throughout the early 2000s. I owe a lot to this project, the original organizers, and the way it integrated ideas, aesthetics and communities across disparate neighborhoods and scenes – teaching me to organize in a way that valued diversity without tokenizing.” – Daniel Tucker

+ Please send in your replies of 400 words or less by January 31st, 2011 to tucker.daniel@gmail.com and please forward this to people you think might want to be included (especially people that can might give examples before the year 2000).

+ Important information to include: What took place, When it took place, where it took place, any key people or groups involved, how it changed your life? PLUS: Your name, a short biographical statement of 40 words or less explaining to random people who you are and your email for my reference only.

+ Some notes on the terms/ideas in my question: The reason I want it to be about Chicago is because it’s about contributing to a local history of socially and politically engaged arts. By arts engaged in community and politics I mean a lot of things: interpret it broadly but focus on the part about how it changed you dramatically. The reason it should be about an event or project as opposed to an organization or institution is so it can be focused on the gatherings, actions and initiatives which catalyze our minds and bodies in new directions – this is more simply articulated around events and projects and is less likely to be used as promotion of a particular group or venue. Which leads me to say: if at all possible, consider talking about an event or project of which you were not the sole author or organizer or potentially something you just happened across that other people were responsible for bringing into the world (no need to be totally self promotional, your story will get told some day!)…this helps with the next concern which is to hopefully bring a lot of different people and places into symbolic conversation with one another through this interview – so the lesser known examples are really welcome and passing this note along to one of your acquaintances or long-lost friends might help the effort of highlighting less prominent histories.

+ Why contribute your thoughts to this interview?
Maybe you think it’s an interesting question. Secondly, it will be published in a book.
I am developing a new book entitled (tentatively): “Never The Same: Transformative experiences of art, politics and community in Chicago.” The project has already received support from the Propeller Fund and will be developed over the spring and summer of 2011. Your response will be included as long as it is on topic (as evaluated by me). I wish I could say everyone who wrote something would get a free book but that is unlikely given the expense of book production and distribution. Still, its nice to share your ideas with the world. If you would like to know more about the book, send your questions along, but its a total work in progress so the replies might not be that deep!

Thanks for your time, thoughts and happy holidays to ya!

farewell for now,
Daniel Tucker tucker.daniel@gmail.com | http://miscprojects.com

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