LOGAN SQUARE — Public performance art collective Out of Site has been bringing art to the streets of Chicago since 2011. This year, Out of Site is launching their most ambitious project yet — with Intercity.
In the project, four Chicago-based artists have teamed up with four Rotterdam-based artists to perform public performance pieces simultaneously in their city parks.
Starting last fall, co-curators Carron Little and ieke Trinks began pairing selected artists with their city counterparts to work together. The paired artists then developed pieces that would be performed at the same time in parks of their choice in Chicago and Rotterdam.
Each artist will be physically present in their park while the other artist’s performance will be broadcast in some way, merging digital and analog worlds together.
Little described: “There is a concept that each artist has created through conversation and collaboration, but they are not necessarily the same performance in each place. So the public audience will witness two simultaneous performances happening in real time and space that are in conversation.”
The four performances will explore issues around both cities’ bodies of water, and the place of migration and immigration in creating connections between cities and people. Pieces will also explore whose voices are amplified or silenced in public spaces and how cities can inform identity.
Further specifics are not available, as Little stated: “It is part of Out of Site’s ethos to provide the unexpected encounter for the public, an offering of surprise, so we don’t like to describe what the public are going to see as we prioritize the chance encounter. We’ve witnessed over the years how meaningful this can be for people when they just happen by it by chance.”
Both curators are committed to bringing joy and playfulness back into the public sphere with performance art. Out of Site’s mission is to create “unexpected encounters in public space” whether it’s in parks, sidewalks, or alleys. Many public spaces have memories of violence, Little said, but these pieces are working to bring joy back into the public sphere.
“I’m particularly interested in public performance as a way of expanding the cultural dialogue to people who are not always accessing culture,” Little, co-founder of Out of Site, explained. Performances like Intercity allow the public to experience art in an unexpected way as well as pushing art outside of its own bubble.
“I think the public space can be a space to be playful. It’s very important that other people who haven’t [had] that experience,” Trinks said, have this “chance to experience public space differently.”
Little and Trinks saw Intercity collaboration as an opportunity to continue the work that Out of Site started during the pandemic. During the lockdown, Out of Site transitioned to streaming online performances, giving international artists a chance to collaborate and create work together.
When in-person performances could continue, Trinks and Little thought about what the next iteration of public performance art would look like, leading to a partnership with WORM Rotterdam, an experimental art space, and the Chicago Park District.
From noon-3 p.m. on Saturday, Chicago-based artist Adrian Wood and Rotterdam-based artist Frans van Lent will perform along with Carlos Salazar (Chicago) and Ratri Notosudirjo (Rotterdam) in Palmer Square Park, 2200 N. Kedzie Blvd.
Trinks and Little invite the public to bring picnic baskets and blankets to the respective parks. Little noted, “These are durational performances so people can come and go. Our performances evolve over several hours.” People can stay for 20 minutes, the full three hours, or any amount of time. Some performances will involve the public to co-create the piece.
From noon-3 p.m. on the following Saturday, Sept. 30, Regin Igloria (Chicago) will perform with Katherine Wolkowicz (Rotterdam) and Sara Beth Woods (Chicago) will team up with Contemporary Glory (Rotterdam) in Horner Park, 2741 W. Montrose Ave.
The performances can also be experienced virtually on the YouTube channel. There are streaming parties of the performances that will be held at LePARC Research Center at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada and University of Lincoln, U.K. More information is available at the Out of Site artist collective’s website.
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