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Short-Cuts: A New Pop-Up Art Experience to Activate Chicago’s Pedway

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Posted  26 days ago  in  ActivateFun for Free  by  Ammanuel M. Ayalew

Chicago Loop Alliance will introduce Short-Cuts as its new placemaking initiative this season.


From forgotten median on State Street to empty storefronts and alleys in the Loop, Chicago Loop Alliance has been reinventing the people-place connection in overlooked public spaces through its globally-recognized placemaking initiatives. This winter, the Alliance will introduce Short-Cuts in collaboration with Space p11.

Short-Cuts transforms overlooked spaces into unexpected and memorable places through pop-up performances and exhibitions in the Chicago Pedway. Artists and designers showcase their creations “off the grid” in the Loop’s underground tunnel system, inviting the public to experience the Loop’s well-used but underappreciated Pedway in a new light.

The Pedway connects several buildings and is a suit of armor for Chicagoans during the harsh winter season when they walk in the Loop. Knowledge of this underground system is a special indicator of belonging, while getting lost in it can bring the thrill of exploration. Short-Cuts taps into the character of the Pedway and uses it as a creative catalyst for activity in the Loop.

Short-Cuts builds on Chicago Loop Alliance’s legacy of activating unusual spaces,” says Kalindi Parikh, the Alliance’s interim placemaking manager. “It acts as a sort of ‘pilot project’ that investigates opportunity in the Pedway. We hope it will inspire future projects and improvements to help the Pedway live up to its full potential as an important piece of infrastructure and major Chicago pathway.”

From December 3-14, 2018, Short-Cuts will take place in different spaces of the Pedway and is free to the public. Below is a schedule of all the pop-up experiences this season. 

Movement Installation by Laura Chiaramonte

December 7, 10-10:30 a.m. and 2-2:30 p.m.
County Building Phone Booths
Free

Laura Chiaramonte, a veteran choreographer, dancer, teacher, and videographer, challenges audiences to extend beyond their previously held notions of performance through the collaboration of dance and various art forms. Through the use of dance improvisation, she searches for an honest approach to movement, opening awareness of space and offering insight into the identity for herself and her audiences. On the frontiers of performance, she synthesizes sound, moving image, design, and technology into an imaginative whole.

The Pedway of Today by Hui-min Tsen

December 7, 12-1 p.m.
Space p11
Free

Artist Hui-min Tsen discusses her work in the Chicago Pedway and her pamphlet, The Pedway of Today.

Movie Night for Houseplants and their Humans by Lindsey French

December 7, 6-7 p.m.
Space p11
Free

Lindsey French will host Movie Night for House Plants and their Humans, a reception for area residents who wish to bring their houseplants to enjoy water, grow lights, and films made just for them.

Music for Phone Booths by Jeff Kolar

December 12, 12-1 p.m. | County Building Booths | Free
December 13, 5-6 p.m. | County Building Booths | Free

"Music for Phone Booths” is a multi-channel audio installation and recorded album intended to defuse the hectic atmosphere of Chicago’s City Hall and County Building. For this site-responsive work, Kolar will compose and perform original music for playback inside five vintage abandoned phone booths located underground in the Chicago Pedway. The compositions will feature an 1863 S.D. & H.W. Smith pump organ, voice, and electronics. The project investigates the style, function, and format of Background Music - music created to be passively listened to. “Music for Phone Booths” is intended to induce calm and serve as a comfort station for daily commuters.

Lunch Hour Discussion with Jeff Kolar

December 13, 12:15-12:50 p.m.
Space p11
Free

Artist Jeff Kolar discusses his sound installation, Music on Hold, in the phone booths located in the basement of the Cook County Building, and his impressions of the Chicago Pedway.

Chicago Underground

December 14, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Randolph Street Passageway
Free

Explore an installation of drawings by School of the Art Institute of Chicago students Lianne Ahn, Siddharth Babni, Yiwen Chu, Sharon Hwang, Derrick McCormick, Krina Mehta, Leontine Van Cleef, Karen Wang, and Carolina Von Hammerstein, working with Jonathan Solomon, associate professor and director of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects. The students worked for a semester on drawings of the Chicago Pedway. Informed by on-site research, observations, and tours by Pedway users in Chicago, students used their drawings as a way to understand the unique culture and space of the Pedway not as a problem in need of solutions, but as a place with its own value and character.

Phytovision by Lindsey French

December 14, 12:15-12:50 p.m.
Space p11
Free

French discusses her exhibition, Phytovision, and her work on plant perception, and reads from Land of Words, a selection of poetry by plants that she edited for the journal Forty-Five. Phytovision facilitates phytocentric experiences, reworking digital video for plant perception. On a standard screen, a digital image is constructed from three primary colors – red, green, and blue – designed specifically for human eyes with these three cones. Most plants perceive light in the spectrum of red and blue. Plants also perceive gravity, and electric fields, and water content of soil and air, and touch, and sound, and a host of chemical interactions, airborne or passing through the soil. For p11, video portraits of old growth white pine, hemlock, fern, and forest flowers are filtered for the light spectrum of plant perception and slowed to plant time, while airborne molecules are released into the air as olfactory communication. Phytovision, as both a practice of perception and a plant-oriented media, begins as an experiment to destabilize the primacy of human vision, and quietly opens a number of modes of perception beyond the clear distinctions of our human senses.