More than Useful: Aesthetics Objects and Social Change
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Artist/researcher Tintin Wulia discusses aesthetics, the public space, and social transformation – within the tangle of imagination, emotion, and sociopolitical institution.
Moderated by RAISIN Curator Asha Iman Veal and SAIC Being a Woman of Color in the Arts Class
Wulia urges seeing beyond the trope of usefulness in socially engaged art, to focus on the mechanisms of social change that are specifically aesthetic. Her argument is that imagination and emotion – two aesthetically-prone mental phenomena – have been entangled with the transformation of sociopolitical institutions for millennia. Citing results from her aesthetic fieldworks in urban public spaces during her Australia Council for the Arts Fellowship (2014-16), amongst others, Wulia discusses how the tangle of imagination, emotion, and sociopolitical institutions can especially pivot on aesthetic objects. Finally, she proposes an analytical method drawing mainly from sociology and artistic practice-based research, which includes repurposing Charles Tilly’s semantic grammar to analyse currently uncollated archives comprising three-decade worth of 900 socially engaged art projects globally.
Tintin Wulia is principal investigator of “Protocols of Killings: 1965, distance, and the ethics of future warfare” (Swedish Research Council, 2021-23) at HDK-Valand/Academy of Art and Design, University of Gothenburg – and an artist who has been examining borders for more than two decades. Her works are in significant public collections such as the Van Abbemuseum, Netherlands. She has published in over thirty countries, including in major exhibitions such as the Moscow Biennale (2011), Sharjah Biennale (2013), and Venice Biennale (2017).
6018North is pleased to announce RAISIN, an exhibition exploring themes from the classic play A Raisin in the Sun (1959) by Lorraine Hansberry. In the 1960s, A Raisin in the Sun was translated into 30 languages, and won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle award in its debut year. Produced in cities around the world, the play has been bringing solidarity to various struggles against injustice; from residential segregation within the United States, migration politics across Europe, class inequality in China, and apartheid in South Africa. With artworks created by Chicago and international artists, the RAISIN exhibition offers local and global perspectives on “home.”
RAISIN features work by: Kioto Aoki (Chicago) / Coletivo Anastácia Berlin (Berlin) / Jared Brown (Chicago) / Marina Viola Cavadini (Milan) / Amy Sanchez Arteaga + Misael Diaz (Cog•nate Collective) (So. California) / Işıl Eğrikavuk (Berlin) / Max Guy (Chicago) / Kyle Bellucci Johanson (Chicago) / Kierah “Kiki” King (Chicago) / Diya Khurana (Mumbai) / Kat Liu (Chicago) / AJ McClenon (Chicago) / Clemens Melzer (Berlin) / Joelle Mercedes (Chicago) / Chip Moody (Chicago) / Joseph Mora (Chicago) / Nahum, Ale de la Puente, Juan José Díaz Infante, and Tania Candiani (Mexico City and Berlin) / zakkiyyah najeebah dumas-o’neal (Chicago) / Alessia Petrolito (Turin) / Delilah Salgado (Chicago) / Aaron Samuels (Los Angeles) / Rohan Ayinde Smith (London) / Brett Swinney (Chicago) / Maryam Taghavi (Chicago) / Gloria Talamantes (Chicago) / Tran Tran (Chicago) / Unyimeabasi Udoh (Chicago) / Nayeli Vega (Berlin) / Amanda Williams (Chicago) / Jakob Wirth (Berlin) / Tintin Wulia (Australia) / Zhiyuan Yang (New York) / Nushin Yazdani (Berlin)
The exhibition is led by curator Asha Iman Veal, curatorial assistants Shannon Lin and Esraa, graduate curatorial assistant Ruby Dudasik, and exhibition associates Alexis Brocchi; in collaboration with the 6018North team Tricia Van Eck and Nathan Abhalter Smith.
RAISIN opens September 17 as a proud partner of the Chicago Architecture Biennial as they present their fourth edition The Available City. A full schedule of public programming will be announced soon, and includes conversations with visual artists, theater scholars, fair-housing advocates, and global migration advocates, as well as original artist-led workshops and performance events.
In 1959, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun debuted on Broadway. In this seminal work, Hansberry wrote about the Youngers, a fictional Black American family in Chicago whose late patriarch has left behind a life insurance policy that the family can use to purchase a home and enter the American middle class. Many challenges block this family’s path, and the four adult Youngers debate their options for self-determination within a race-biased society, and whether to move to an affordable yet segregated neighborhood, where they will not be welcome.
In 2021, this exhibition presents multidisciplinary artworks inspired by the local importance and global reach of Hansberry’s narrative.
“A radical Black woman playwright found her excellent work embraced as an arts-based format to encourage dialogue on inclusion and justice in cities across the world,” says curator Asha Iman. “Even after Lorraine Hansberry’s death, the span of her narrative has grown over the past sixty years.”