Opening Saturday, December 7th, from 2PM - 4PM
Fieldwork Collaborative Projects
Considering the Chicago Park District network as a platform for cultural life and civic activation that is a unique network of public spaces, this participatory conversation raises questions about the significance, maintenance, and relevance of these civic spaces. With more than 600 parks, 400 field houses, 26 miles of lakefront, 50 outdoor pools, a museum campus, and Soldier Field, today’s Park District operates as a sovereign territory within the city. Multiple and distributed, this territory pervades every ward and neighborhood. Fieldwork asks local and global questions around “publicness”—the complex patterns of individuals and communities, and the systems that organize them. As a network of sites, each park is a polyvalent territory, at once natural, social, psychological, ecological, political, ethnic, historic, and economic. With cultural change, the distribution and structure of the park network faces new demands, and so does the very mythology that grounds it. If these parks were emblematic of Chicago as a city defined by modern industry, later additions to the system—such as Millennium Park—are emblematic of Chicago’s shift to finance, culture, tourism, and lifestyle economies. Through this discussion, Fieldwork explores what opportunities emerge if we radically rethink Chicago’s parks.
Fieldwork Collaborative Projects is an interdisciplinary nonprofit dedicated to increasing cultural activity in the Chicago region. Established by artists with backgrounds in architecture, urban planning, anthropology, research, and criticism, the group has extensive experience with curatorial work and institutional administration. By working beyond the confines of the museum or gallery, Fieldwork transforms underutilized spaces traditionally used for sport or recreation by organizing performances, exhibitions, or other unexpected activities to expose the unseen, unconsidered, underestimated or overlooked potential of a particular place.