American Nest: B I N G O is a mixed media installation of photographs, video, and ephemera about the sub culture of the post war Americana leisure game called B I N G O. This exhibition uses B I N G O as a metaphor to examine and explore a meeting place that allows opposing forces such as, technology, age, and spirituality to coexist.
“Instead of going to daycare my grandparents would come to my house and watch me during the week while my parents went to work. Many days they would regale me with stories of growing up during the depression, only paying a nickel for gas and spending their evenings bowling, playing bridge or playing B I N G O. Their leisure activities were passed down to me on Friday nights when my Grandpa and my Grandma would help run B I N G O night at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Wood River, Illinois.
Bingo halls have always been a part of my life. Over the years of playing B I N G O on my own, I have experienced that every basement or hall is ﬁlled with familiar characters. Their tchotchke-lined B I N G O cards speak to a postwar Americana culture that in these spaces are honored and preserved. I am interested in these social spaces in Middle America, that serve as markers to that legacy. In the process of photographing B I N G O nights I have elevated the people and the objects to a higher level than outsiders normally see them as. My photography functions as a conduit between the outside world and the B I N G O community. The photographs bring a culture to people who would not normally enter this environment otherwise.
I use B I N G O as a metaphor for the disconnected feeling to previous generations. It allows me to reﬂect on a time that my grandparents spoke so highly of and where my culture stems from. I travel around to different Catholic Churches, VFW and Knights of Columbus halls throughout the Midwest, searching for the bridge between my generation and my grandparents’.
Declining attendance to B I N G O halls are evidence of a ﬂeeting culture that was made popular by a generation that is also slowly dwindling. On big jackpot nights these quiet havens are ﬁlled to the brim with a variety of people of all ages. The aesthetics of the brightly lit, friendly, welcoming bingo hall is appealing. My photographs elude to this feeling of acceptance and warmth by using an offset ﬂash to remove the ﬂuorescent lights and present the spaces the way I remember. The images slow down an already slow game to have the viewer appreciate the nuances of the players and the game. Much like the lesson I was bestowed upon by my grandparents to appreciate the small things and to slow down. The video installation creates a repetitive, anticipatory/meditative ritual, that represents more lessons learned about dedication and patience. Both the stills and moving pictures show an obsolesces in a technology-ﬁlled world and explore a meeting place where other opposing forces can coexist.”
Columbia College Chicago
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Monday – Friday: 9am – 5pm