May 17th 2019

As part of the Commons Artist Project entitled Parts of Speech, a series of experimental lectures take place at sites of assembly throughout Chicago and address the use of public speech to mold opinion, forge intimacy, marshal authority, and orchestrate movements.

Many meaningful aspects of music can be indiscernible to listeners. They are, however, apparent to composers and performers, as they trace a lineage between the past and present. These musical elements enable musicians to create new work by quoting, honoring, and remaking history. Tomeka Reid, a cellist and composer, is especially concerned with the reception of jazz and improvised music. She wonders how, without advocacy and education, this music will continue to be heard, and by whom. Will the stories of musicians continue to be recorded, and will the references that infuse and enrich the music be understood? How might speech capture music, and how might music act as speech? Reid will talk about how we listen to and misread jazz, and what the knowledge gaps in the history of the music affect contemporary criticism. Toggling between speech and performance, Reid will ask how languages and communities of speakers can look backward while moving forward, and who bears the responsibility for assembling and disseminating the history of the music.

Parts of Speech is by Public Fiction (Lauren Mackler) with Triple Canopy. The Commons Artist Project is organized by January Parkos Arnall, Curator of Public Programs, with Christy LeMaster, Assistant Curator of Public Programs.

Lectures are presented by Steffani Jemison, Hari Kunzru, Tomeka Reid, Astra Taylor, Christopher Kulendran Thomas, and Julio Torres. The exhibition includes artwork by Rami George, Liz Magic Laser, David Levine, Nicole Miller, Rodney McMillian, and Videofreex.

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