Jan 22nd 2016

Soul Asylum

@ Weinberg/Newton Gallery

300 W. Superior St., Suite 203, Chicago IL

Opening Friday, January 22nd, from 5PM - 8PM

On view through Sunday, March 27th

Tania Bruguera
Díaz Lewis
Jenny Polak
Albany Park Theater Project

As a performer’s presence becomes known, a room responds with quiet.
Open air over live microphone, breath through the voice box produces the vibrations of song. A frequency emanating from the chest rattles the innards of an audience.
A room full of bodies exchanging vibrations audible and inaudible.

What incites an object to resound, to sing?

Inspired by the many powerful stories told from immigrant communities, the sculptures, performances, installation and paintings in the exhibition Soul Asylum provoke participation. The works charge the gallery with the latent vibrations and powerful implications of the human voice. Here storytelling as a practice of communicating facts produce within an audience embodied emotional responses to real, lived experiences. We are called to action and held accountable for what is learned. Stories like choral voices singing show us a vision of a better future. By engaging us in the biographies of immigrant justice community activists through themes of staging, documentation, narrative, commemoration and participation, the artworks are an invitation to join the chorus and sing these songs of resistance.

The works themselves are either participatory or products made from social action. Jenny Polak’s Podium for Citizens and Non­citizens is human scale with megaphones attached to each side for volume amplification. Gallery visitors are invited to stand upon the podium and speak from the unique perspectives of protected citizens and restricted non­citizens.

The collaborative Díaz Lewis construct a performance­based installation in the back galleries where they work to materialize the human impact of ICE’s bed quota, a required average of 34,000 people detained every day. Díaz Lewis and workshop participants (on select days in the gallery) will sew together hundreds if not thousands of pillows, filling up the space with the pillows made with donated clothing, bedding and towels from undocumented immigrants drawing a connection to the fabric of their lives.

Tania Bruguera presents the Migrant Movement Manifesto, a proclamation of respect towards migrants written as a part of her long term project Immigrant Movement International, an artist initiated socio­political movement joining multinational communities.

Albany Park Theater Project collaboratively designed and performed the theatrical production Home/Landin 2012 after many months of conducting ethnographic research with immigrant communities all over the Chicagoland area. Interviews conducted by their trained youth uncovered hundreds of stories that inspired their performance. For the exhibition, APTP designs an audio document of these stories embodied by the youths through the recitation of their words.

Human Rights Watch is a reporting agency the collects data around human rights violations and uses the information to influence policy reform. Like the artists in Soul Asylum,HRW has listened to these many voices with the intent to change the world we live in. Together, the artists and our partnering organization ask can you hear the sound of my voice? Can you hear me singing?



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