As told by Residency Coordinator, Ariel Gentalen
Basim Magdy visited the Jackman Goldwasser Residency during the height of summer from July 11th - August 26th. Arriving with his whole family in tow, his residency started promptly with a visit to the nearest ice cream shop.
Magdy took the residency as an opportunity to explore some of his more personal interests, which will likely be visible, in some form, in his upcoming photo and film projects. A connoisseur of rock and mineral specimens, Magdy took walks and bike rides along the shore of Lake Michigan picking up curiosities along the way. Often Artists in Residence are interested in the geological history of the shoreline, as Chicagoans know it is a constant battle in regards to industrial development and preservation. Magdy took particular interest in the ecology of the environments by the shoreline.
One afternoon, Magdy and I stood over a table of found objects in his studio testing the magnetic power of material he had collected along the lakefront. However, having dug the novelty magnets out of the Education Classroom closet downstairs, I'm not sure how scientifically sound the investigation was. Magdy's interest in minerals, as well as birds, took him to the The Field Museum where he connected with their artist in residence. He spent two days photographing cataloged specimens of birds hoping to 3D print them at Chicago Innovation Exchange.
Magdy diligently spent time in his studio every day, developing work and exploring new materials. The Art Center is home to many an abject object, which served Magdy well as he utilized a 1960s Kodak Carousel, found in our Preparator's studio, for the length of his stay. As he and I went through boxes of old trays looking for empty slides, we discovered an entire collection of someone's vacation to Germany, complete with visits to World War Two historical sites such as Auschwitz. Magdy eventually took the lens from the Carousel to use for further projects, along with a collection of slides he had pieced together.
Overall, Magdy spent the majority of his residency conducting research, filming and photographing across the city for upcoming and potential projects, documenting the city on his instagram and on film, utilizing a menagerie of cameras brought from his home in Switzerland. Many packages of out of date or rare film arrived in the Center's mailbox as Magdy sleuthed on Ebay to enable the use of his super 8 and 1960's rare Polaroid cameras. If you did not get an opportunity to meet or see Magdy's work at The Center, his exhibition opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago on December 10th of this year.