All posts filed under: Video + Film

Erica Mei Gamble outside Harold Washington Library

Communal Sound Space

Erica Mei Gamble is a musician, storyteller, and children’s librarian at the Chicago Public Library. These roles converge in her ongoing project Communal Sound Space, an ever-expanding collection of video footage of DIY music and performance in Chicago. Since the launch of its online presence in August 2017, the archive makes public hundreds of videos documenting nearly a decade of performances in DIY spaces and small galleries around the city. The project amounts to a deeply personal history of Chicago music. Erica has filmed each performance herself, setting up shop at a good angle. Watching her record has become part of the fabric of going to a certain type of show: intimate, experimental, and for the most part, ephemeral. Thanks to Erica, that last bit is changing. Anyone curious about what goes on after hours in the darkened spaces of Chicago can now experience—or pause, rewind, and relive—a slice of it from anywhere in the world. I caught up with Erica about her project—creating safe spaces for expression, the impulse to document, maintaining an archive …

Designing for a Fertile Future

As a designer who is concerned about the future of the planet, Jessica Gorse thinks sustainability is not a sufficient goal. If humans are to stem ongoing environmental and political crises, according to Gorse, they need to get more imaginative and take up regenerative projects that grow better future worlds. To that end, Gorse—who went back to school at age 28 for a degree in Designed Objects at SAIC—investigates the possible lifespans of materials we use every day. This takes form in her work with Fertile Design, a project she started with fellow SAIC students Erin Delaney and Soniya Khasgiwale. Together, they experiment with making plastics out of food waste that are then embedded with seeds and nutrient-rich natural dyes such that through biodegrading they replenish the soil and germinate. What is so great about Gorses’s work is that it is both idealistic and completely practical. She calls this practice “futurist world-building.” When I met Gorse in her studio at SAIC, we began by watching two of her experimental video projects before digging into Fertile Design. “Fusion Vision” is a lo-fi cartoon music video featuring a guitar-plucking …

Intimate Justice: An Interview with Claire Arctander

“Intimate Justice” looks at the intersection of art and sex and how these actions intertwine to serve as a form of resistance, activism, and dialogue in the Chicago community. For the first installment, we visited visual artist Claire Arctander in her home studio to discuss her video, sculptural, and performance-based practice. S. Nicole Lane: Let’s begin with the general background questions. Where did you go to school? How did you begin working with film and performance? Claire Arctander: I am pretty much a Chicagoan through and through. I grew up in a suburb. My parents were artists when I was growing up, and my dad is still an artist. He teaches art at McHenry County College, so I was exposed to art. It’s just a typical practice and a way to express oneself. Then I went to undergrad at Northwestern. I always really loved writing, so that’s the direction that I thought I was going to go in. Writing is still important to me, but as soon as I started school there I pretty quickly veered …

Clarissa Bonet: The Visual Artist behind the Camera

At 26 and not even a full year after graduating from Columbia College Chicago’s photography graduate program, Clarissa Bonet’s photographic series City Space has been praised. An award winning photographer, her work has been exhibited in Chicago, Florida, Paris, China, Israel, and published by the award winning photography magazine PDN (Photo District News), the Swiss Magazine Das Magazin, Booooooom, and Feature Shoot…to name a few. Clarissa possesses the ability to create work that is captivating and full of emotion. I had the pleasure of learning more about the visual artist behind the camera.     Sophia Nahli: When did you know you wanted to be a photographer? Clarissa Bonet: I started photography when I was in middle school. We had a little dark room in my school, so I started experimenting there, but I really got into photography when I was in high school. I knew my sophomore year of high school that photography was going to be my medium to work in. SN: Why is photography important to you? CB: That’s kind of a …

Black To The Future Series: An Interview with Cauleen Smith

Using a title borrowed from an essay by cultural critic Mark Dery, the Black To The Future Series is a sequence of interviews with artists whose practice has started to define a new generation of work in the realm of afrofuturism and afrosurrealism. Using a pointed series of questions, these interviews have been conducted to spark conversation, to hear various points of view on something that is constantly changing and transforming, and with the hopes of allowing the practitioners to be at the center of determining what these movements are. This week we get some insight from artist and filmmaker Cauleen Smith.  Cauleen has spent the past two years in Chicago researching and digging through the Alton Abraham Papers at the University of Chicago and music archives at the Experimental Sound Studio to find gems from the life of musician and philosopher Sun Ra, a key figure in the conversation around afrofuturism.  The results of her investigation can be seen in A Star Is A Seed, an installation and series of short films at the …

The Moving Image | An Interview with Amir George

It takes a certain amount of courage and vision to push the aesthetic limits of film in a way that is intriguing and unpredictable, but filmmaker Amir George‘s work does this regularly. His shorts have been screened in various different places across the city–for the crowds at the Art Institute, as well as smaller spaces like the Society For Arts in Wicker Park. If you caught some of the screenings at the Chicago International Music and Movies Festival this year, you may have seen some of his work. In his first year participating in the festival he broke records. Three of his works were included, which until this year that was unheard of.  Amir’s video for the song Get It Off My Chest by Chicago’s own Drunken Monkeee puts a new spin on the 2008 film Bronson. The video for She Wants a Man by Supertoy is a visually alluring with its inventive use of costume and editing, and the occasional familiar Chicago landscape. In one of my personal favorites, Meshes of Fear Land, he …

One State Together In The Arts | James Goggin, Director of Design at MCA Chicago

  “James is one of the most recognized and distinctive graphic designers of his generation.” – Madeleine Grynsztejn, Pritzker Director, Museum of Contemporary Art At the end of May, Sixty Inches From Center attended the One State Together In The Arts Conference in Bloomington, Illinois. (See the photos taken at the event here) Every two years state-wide artists, educators, arts advocates, arts organizers and arts organizations come together in a different city to exchange ideas, share experiences and get to know the people doing great things in the arts throughout Illinois.   Around the theme Creative Breakthrough, presenters in the fields of design, music, poetry, theater and more offered their insights on what it has taken for them to take their ideas to new heights, push further and apply what they’ve learned to how they will move forward. To do our part in spreading the wealth of information found at the conference, Sixty Inches From Center requested permission to post the videos from One State Together In The Arts on our site.  The following text and videos are …

Pawn Works Presents, Clown Soldier

It has been a week since Gabriel Specter’s show ended and Nick and Seth of Pawn Works already have prepared another entirely new show featuring a print maker and street artist who goes by the alias of “Clown Soldier.” The show is called Human Cannonball and the opening took place this past Friday, June 24th. The artist was available for an interview so be sure to keep posted next week to learn more about the artist and Pawn Works. Below you will find a short slide show with images from the installation along with featured music by local Chicago band Kmang-Kmang. Clown Soldier ‘Human Cannonball’ from Nicolette Caldwell on Vimeo. For more information about Pawn Works go to www.pawnworkschicago.com If you want to see more work by the artist the show runs for the next two weeks. You may also check out the artist’s website at www.clownsoldier.com To learn more about the music featured in the slide show go to www.kmang-kmang.com Pawn Works is located at 1050 North Damen Avenue.  

What’s Your Art?: Hyde Park Art Center, Fire Arts Center, & Little Black Pearl

Sixty Inches from Center is collaborating with WBEZ as part of their Off Air Series to showcase unique art centers within Chicago. Join us on Saturday, June 4th from 1-5 pm at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 East Washington Street, for “What’s Your Art”. Throughout the afternoon, visitors will have an opportunity to interact with representatives from Chicago Art Department, Chicago Photography Center, Chicago Urban Art Society, Fire Arts Center, Hyde Park Art Center, Lillstreet Art Center, Little Black Pearl, Rumble Arts Center, South Side Community Art Center, and Spudnik Press Cooperative. Each Center will demonstrate the creative activities that enrich their community. “What’s Your Art” is free to the public and is an opportunity for Chicago residents to experience art as a part of daily life. Visit each Center’s Collective Project page to find out more about classes and events that will be held in the months before the “What’s Your Art” event. Between now and June 4th visit any of the ten Art Centers and pick up a “What’s Your Art?” validation card, …