Chicago Home Theater Festival will explore the practice of social organizing by inviting artists, activists, and neighbors to create Neighborhood Field Guides in collaboration with the Chicago Park District, City Bureau, Sixty Inches From Center and others. We will gather neighborhood stories and create zines, audio collages, and dramaturgical tools which will be utilized by artists to create neighborhood-specific work and performed as part of our festival in May 2017. CHTF invites strangers into each other’s homes to share an intimate meal, experience transformative art, and build intentional community across lines of difference. We aim to provide a platform for artistic exchange within neighborhoods that have experienced systemic disinvestment; center narratives by and about artists of color, women and femmes, migrants and immigrants, LGBTQ folks, and artists with disabilities; and curate performances and conversations that directly disrupt injustice and catalyze collective action.
“Good community engagement is actual community engagement.” I replied with this phrase when someone recently inquired with me about what made work within the community a credible endeavour. Before every project I go to the place I am about to administer to. I stand in the spot where I plan to bring my offering. I walk around and see what cultural capital is already there. Because it is, already there. As a part of my preparation, I begin by asset mapping and generating my own typography of the neighborhood, using not only what google will show me on a map, but also my understanding of that neighborhood. What monuments are there that only those who live on that block might know? I try to catalog the gatekeepers who sheppard that community, the places where people congregate and the kinds of cultural activities they are already engaged in.
This program is in conjunction with Public School and is led by Irina Zadov.