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Here/Not There


The second installment of this summer series of five multidisciplinary performances aims to answer the questions: What remains after a performance occurs? What happens when a person misses a performance? Can the experience of that performance be re-created and seen in a gallery even if it occurred elsewhere?

Here/Not There stretches something ephemeral—performance—into something more lasting. It explores how something can be experienced in one place and yet offer a sense of the experience in another.

Each week in July, a different Chicago artist presents ways to merge the performative and the visual. The initial performances begin on Tuesday evenings at 7 pm after which the remnants, traces, or experiences generated by the artist remain in the gallery through the following Sunday. While the installation is centered in the McCormick Tribune Orientation space, the performance(s) may be located in various spaces throughout the MCA and even the surrounding streets. Some of these performances occur throughout the week. Using multiple media, each of the five artists demonstrates how performance and visual art can not only coexist but also expand the notions of these often separate fields.

This project is curated by Tricia Van Eck and Michael Green in coordination with the performance and marketing department.


June 30–July 5

Performances on Tuesday, June 30, at 7 pm in the fourth-floor lobby, and July 4, noon–4 pm in the McCormick Tribune Orientation Gallery

Using hand-crafted sculptural objects, performance, and video, The Body Parlor explores the science and ritual of caring for animals in communities whose survival depends upon labor and self-sacrifice for the greater good of the collective. The performances include up to ten performers who reenact the rituals of animal husbandry, taking on the roles of both animals and laborers. Each performer participates in the cultivation of their own body material, such as the collection of hair, through sacrificial offerings. After the performances, the collected materials (bottled hair, socks, and milk) are on display alongside sheep masks, a milking parlor, soap from sheep's fat, and a video of the performance.


July 7–12

  • Performance on Tuesday, July 7, at 7 pm with Second Front in the McCormick Tribune Orientation Gallery

The artist creates his e-happenings on July 8–12 from noon to 4 pm

Patrick Lichty is a technologically based artist exploring emerging social media like Twitter and Facebook. Using Web 2.0, a second generation of web development and design, which facilitates communication, information sharing, and collaboration on the Internet, Lichty's project probes the online cultural convergence that Web 2.0 allows/provokes. He compares this connectivity to the 1967 summer gathering of over 100,000 young people in San Francisco, called the Summer of Love, often considered a social experiment of communal sharing of resources and love. Lichty sees Web 2.0 as the next generation of social experimentation. Lichty's Summer of Love aims to be a multi-forum “e-happening” within the gallery. One week before the installation, Lichty sends out a call to such Web 2.0 sites as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and Second Life, comparing 1967 to 2009 with regard to love, spaceship earth and cyberspace, environmentalism and sustainability, the global village and the panopticon, the Vietnam War and the Iraq War. Throughout the week the responses from individuals via these sites are projected live and Lichty places selected image and text responses in the gallery.


July 14–19

Performances begin on Tuesday, July 14, at 7 pm

This durational work is a repurposing of seeds, knit sweaters, and Chicago bricks as a metaphor for the basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter. During the initial performance the artists create 600 multiples of repurposed bricks, sweaters, and seeds bound together. Submerged in water, they begin a hydration cycle where the absorbing quality of the brick and the wool provide a structure for the seeds to sprout. Throughout the week the multiples are placed on yellow carts, which the collaborative consider to be “conveyors of energy” and moved in and around the museum where they are silently tended by utilizing water, heat, and light. By the end of the week, the seeds will have sprouted.

As a continuation of this cycle of reuse, the multiples will be placed in planters around the museum at the end of the project.


July 21–26

  • Live improvisation on July 21, at 7 pm in the 4th floor atrium; July 25 at 11:30 am–12:30 pm and 2:30–3:30 pm in the 4th floor atrium; July 26 at 11:30 am–12:30 pm and 2:30–3:30 pm on the MCA Plaza.

The performers continue with a series of performances throughout the week.

Chicago Phonography is a local sound collective that performs live improvisations using audio recordings culled from Chicago’s urban soundscape. Incorporating similar principles found in free-jazz, the ensemble collectively “plays” a series of sound recordings made at the MCA and surrounding Chicago neighborhoods. In the gallery, there is a video projection of a 3D architectural rendering of downtown Chicago that features sound recordings from the actual locations interspersed with sound recordings from the MCA. These recordings are given an ephemeral visual form, allowing the viewer to both interpret and trace the sounds created by our urban community.


July 28–August 2

Justin Cooper presents four different performances: Crater, Sprinkle, Relax, and Crumple on the theme of the family summer vacation.

  • Crater

July 28, 7 pm

This is an interactive deconstruction of a family vacation argument using four invisible laser beams which crisscross the space. With multiple viewers moving through the space, the vocal laser beams are activated at completely random intervals to create a fragmented cacophony that refers to the memory of past experiences.

  • Sprinkle

July 30, noon–5 pm

This performance involves four sprinklers in front of the MCA.

  • Relax

July 31, all day

Relax is performed all day in the gallery space as well as the MCA Store. It involves a sound piece that consists of ambient ocean surf interspersed with the sounds of a family of unknown creatures.

  • Crumple

August 1, noon–5 pm

Crumple is an installation/performance in the sculpture garden. A piece of astroturf fitted with wire armatures is “crumpled” like a piece of paper throughout the day. Ultimately it becomes a wadded up piece of astroturf that resembles a balled-up piece of paper.