The Swing and the Wall

-1Four (4) Sundays for Intergenerational Creative Idleness, Pleasurable Learning, and Meaningful Exchange.

at The Comfort Station 2579 N. Milwaukee Ave
Brought to you by SHoP & I am 9

#1 June 8

12:00 – 2:00 pm Chocolate Meditation and Geometric Learning through Origami With teaching artist Jerry Marciniak.
1:00 – 5:00 pm Bookbinding Workshop with Amy Sinclair of North Branch Projects
7:00 – 9:00 pm “Class Clowns” Comedy Showcase hosted by David Yontz
Curiosity, observation, and skepticism abound in the life of a comic. This event will showcase a handpicked group of local comedic talent, eager to share their insights on life and learning in the city of Chicago.

#2 June 15

12:00 – 2:00 pm Writing the Archives: A Poetry Workshop. Inspired by the history of classroom materials used in “The Swing and the Wall,” this drop-in workshop is an opportunity for writers and admirers of poetry to take part in informal writing exercises. Obscure footnotes, abandoned cataloging systems and discarded pedagogical materials will inform a Dadaist collage experiment. Led by Kate Hadley Williams.
2:00 – 5:00 pm Junk Drawer Workshop with Eric Bartholomew
3:00 pm Performance by Ashton Frost and TBA
2:00 – 9:00 pm New Chicago Speakers Corner. Scheduled & spontaneous citizens share ideas in any form for a new Chicago.
5:00 – 9:00 pm New Chicago Potluck Pic-Nic!
Picnic begins at 5:00 with Spice! roasting locally sourced meats and veggies. Bring a blanket and food or drinks to share!

#3 June 22

12:00 – 5:00 pm Sunday School Hosted by I am 9
All day family making things workshop. Featuring: Zine making, cardboard and duct tape weaponry and Fort Cardboard! Please bring cardboard boxes, duct tape, a box cutter, and perhaps a kid or two!
3:00 – 5:00 pm Comfort Station Community Forum: Affordable Housing, A Practical Guide. How can residents be involved with neighborhood development, and not just merely informed?
7:00 – 9:00 pm Deadbeat, Barbaric, Richard Album
Experience the sonic exploration of three talented musical acts hand-picked from Chicago’s underground music scene by The Summer Un-School Board of the Off-the-Wall Musicians.

#4 June 29

12:00 – 9:00 pm Intergenerational Workbund
All day spontaneous workshops and group activities. Beginning wtih Radical Mending with Eleanor Ray, then Master Felting with Laura Shaeffer, and a Musical Performance by Dan Godston.

Your workshops, performances, and ideas are welcome in a scheduled or drop-in way.
Contact with questions or proposals.

See the SHoP facebook page ( for regular updates.



This document explains the history of an art piece called “The Swing and the Wall”.

I am Nine meets every morning to discuss projects, opportunities, self-criticize, emotionally process, and think laterally en masse. One morning Laura mentioned an opportunity to program a month in the Comfort Station. This is a building in Logan Square used as a “contemporary art space.” Logan Square is a neighborhood in Chicago undergoing massive and obscure transformation. Jasper mentioned recent protests against rent hikes and evictions.

The first idea was called the “New Chicago Design Symposium.” The idea was to work with a group of fifteen students from public high schools in Chicago to redesign the transportation and education system of the city from the ground up. The first part of the project would be three months of research. We would talk with urban planners, socialist intellectuals, and urban historians. The second phase would be an intensive design workshop lead by an internationally famous European architect. The third phase was a massive public relation campaign complete with exhibitions, events, and the release of a cheap pamphlet publicizing the plan. The motto for this project was appropriated from the notorious Chicago bourgeoisie architect Daniel Burnham: “No Little Plans.”

I am Nine got excited about this idea but decided two days later that they needed a bigger and better suited space for the installation and intervention by aforementioned internationally famous European architect. The ideal space is a temporary learning pavilion constructed on the grounds where the Cabrini Green towers were constructed for principles of covert racial segregation, and then destroyed for principles of even more covert racial segregation.

The second idea was for Laura to live with her nine year old son in the Comfort Station for one month as an experimental public home school. They would have special uniforms, visiting guest artists, frequent neighborhood cookouts, and brown bag lunches concerning rental patterns.

This plan was not feasible as “living” in the Comfort Station turns out is not allowed.

The third idea was to create a public theater in Logan Square called “The Swing and the Wall”. The set would be a swing and a wall. John Preus would build the swing out of discarded Chicago Public School chairs and Kevin Reiswig would build a wall out of discarded Chicago Public School desks. There would be twenty one nights of free performance interpreted both widely and wildly. On the first night there was to be a New Chicago Banquet, then there was a Concert in the Dark, Mrs. Dalloway Readathon, Children’s Lectures, the Logan Square Lyceum, Sad Music Night IV, Adult Playtime, Visitors from the Future Judge The Present, Mock City Council, Kinderchoreographers (which is where children choreograph adults), Audodidacts Lecture on Hidden History, Institutional Skill Share, Debate Night I, II, III and IV: Occupy Spiritual Logan Square, there was the New Regionalist Symposium, Reading of Statistics over Ambient Music, Political Party Party, Homeless Lecture, and it would end with a New Chicago Banquet II. The whole thing was inspired by something that happened to Laura. One night Laura was walking along the street and saw two people singing behind glass. She saw their mouths move but heard no noise.

Due to programming needs at the Comfort Station, this idea was not feasible.

The fourth and last idea is that Laura, from I am 9, is present for 9 hours on 4 Sundays and is inviting artists, friends, and neighbours of all ages, to participate in an evolving program of informal learning and social events. There are some existing programs but room for much more, please contact Laura (!