JOAN GIROUX: ECO MONOPOLIES
May 1 - October 7, 2018
Image credit: Joan Giroux, eco monopolies in the Commons (working models), 2018.
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago announces the summer Commons Artist Project, Joan Giroux: eco monopolies, an interactive installation that explores the impacts of development on different Chicago neighborhoods and how it connects with larger global movements. Using map-making and games, the artist invites visitors to consider their role in shaping the future of open, green spaces in cities and preserving natural resources. Giroux's project for the Commons is inspired by recent local and national land rights activism, with a focus on the ways Chicago's residents and government define and maintain public land that is threatened by political decisions and commercial development in the city's diverse neighborhoods. Joan Giroux: eco monopolies takes place in the Commons May 1 to October 7, 2018 and is organized by January Parkos Arnall, MCA Curator of Public Programs.
Giroux's practice considers the nature, identity, and ownership of public green space in her work. Early conversations about climate change, especially during the presidential debates between George W. Bush and Al Gore in 2000, were central to Giroux's first work on public land ownership. Titled Eco Monopoly, the piece was part of a symposium of artists, educators, and environmentalists advocating to save a public park in Yokohama, Japan. The site-specific project took the form of an interactive sculptural board game that visually layered public green space above city maps showing densely populated areas with these open areas removed.
Similarly, Giroux's installation in the Commons comprises a set of interactive stations for the public to play games, using mapping as a conceptual framework to understand place and notions of home and ownership. Through the recognition that citizens have rights to and agency in public spaces, Giroux asks participants to consider their role in the conservation of precious green spaces that have been integral to Chicago's identity and community building.
The installation includes books, games, and iPad content that is provided through partnerships with other local institutions and organizations, including the Chicago Park District.
ABOUT THE COMMONS
The Commons is both a physical space and an ongoing program, bringing together artists, thinkers, and audiences in a constellation of art projects, conversations, performances, interactions, workshops, presentations, and readings that explore culture and contemporary life. It is a place to experience socially-engaged and audience-focused practices, and an invitation for visitors to participate in projects led by Chicago artists. The launch of the Commons in 2017 also signaled the start of a new engagement and partnership program. Civic and cultural organizations who make up the rich and diverse cultural communities throughout Chicago will be offered opportunities to be short and long-term participants in the work of the museum.
ABOUT JOAN GIROUX
Joan Giroux lives and works in Chicago, New York, and Santa Barbara. In her practice, Giroux provides context for community and personal reflections on loss and absence through active play and participation. Her work has been featured in group exhibitions at the Weinberg/Newton Gallery, Chicago (2017); University of Buffalo, New York (2017); Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, Michigan (2013); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2007); Ace Gallery, New York, (2002); and Artist's Space, New York (1991); among others. She has performed at Queer, Ill, and Okay, The Storefront Theater, Chicago (2015); Terrain, Oak Park (2012); Darmstädter Kunstbiennale, Darmstadt, Germany (2007); Yatoo Biennale, Gongju, South Korea (2001); Volksbühne Roter Salon, Berlin, Germany (1993); BACA Downtown, Brooklyn (1991); and other venues. She is an Associate Professor in Columbia College Chicago's Art and Art History Department.
Opening Brunch and Letterbox Workshop
Saturday, May 5, 11 am
Joan Giroux celebrates the opening of her Commons Artist Project with a conversation about letterboxing and the kickoff to a challenge that asks visitors to extend their experience beyond the Commons to 15 other cultural centers throughout Chicago.
Screening, Fieldwork Collaborative's Public Park
Friday, June 8, 6 pm
In tandem with eco monopolies, the MCA presents a preview of "Public Park," a mini-documentary focusing on the Field House in Chicago's Humboldt Park, where hurricane Maria evacuees received medical assistance, coats and winter gear, interpretation services, and safe housing while the storm ravaged mainland Puerto Rico. Their experience is captured in this documentary-in-development by Fieldwork Collaborative.
Friday, June 15, 6 pm
An open invitation to Chicago's analog gaming community to come and share their latest creations with friends, other creators, and museum visitors, inspired by Joan Giroux's Commons Artist Project.
Screening, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City
Friday, June 29, 6 pm
Jane Jacobs upended the field of urban planning with her 1960 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities and was a life-long activist in the fight to keep New York City's public spaces sacred. Jacobs' life story provides a timely example of the activism and ethics necessary to keep cities livable and functional for all. This screening of "Citizen Jane: Battle for the City" is followed by an open discussion led by Joan Giroux.
Edible Garden Workshop
Saturday, July 14, 11 am
Guests are guided in a project on the MCA's Kern Terrace to create their own edible kitchen gardens.
Talk: Food Activism
Friday, July 27, 6 pm
Panelists lead an open discussion to consider various forms of food activism and guerrilla gardening in Chicago and beyond. The panel considers food's power to save the world and gardening as a radical act.
Lead support for the Commons is provided by Rebecca W. Knight and Lester B. Knight and the Thomas Wilson-Jill Garling Foundation.