Curated by Judy Kim, Curator of Exhibitions at the American Federation of Arts (NY) and Allison Peters of the Hyde Park Art Center, the art objects and installations included – both in the Ruth Horwich gallery and on the streets of Chicago – presented a dilemma that the viewer must resolve through the act of participation. The artists searched for unsuspected and humorous ways to address the social disconnect inherent to the digital age by producing works that asked the individual to get involved. In each artwork, the process of voluntary or involuntary exchange placed personal elements, such as memories, possessions, or beliefs into a larger public context in order to facilitate communication and strengthen community ties.
In the gallery, Melinda Fries and Granite Amit each invited viewers to an ongoing conversation by incorporating narratives submitted by viewers into their respective large scale installations: one a digital projection, the other a constellation of garments. Ginger Krebs took a more direct approach to collective communication via a command performance in which visitors took part. Nuptron 4000, a life-size robot by Ben Stone, provided an open alternative to the traditional wedding ceremony by performing its unique rendition on demand.
Unexpected encounters with the artwork also occurred outside the gallery. Patrick Killoran lost hundreds of wallets in the area, an artistic intervention that explored notions of public responsibility and aspiration of an ideal society. Amit programmed the LED screens of 6 Chicago businesses with short vignettes to bring about our dormant capacity for authentic communication in the everyday experience. Special thanks goes to The Alley Stores, Nettelhorst School, The Days Inn (Lincoln Park-North), University National Bank (on 55th Street), Hyde Park Shopping Center, and Kenwood Academy for lending their LED signs to the exhibition.