THE HISTORY OF THE SWING AND WALL

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 (laura.shaeffer@gmail.com)!

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One thought on “THE HISTORY OF THE SWING AND WALL

  1. I am not presently living in Logan Square (or perhaps not *yet…), but have attended and enjoyed events at Comfort Station. Plus I have read about the gentrification and social issues relevant to the neighborhood. “Goodonya!” for these creative and conscientious efforts. As a multi-disciplinary artist, I’m enthused about I Am 9, and will gather more info this week. Thanks all!

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