Every year the folks behind the Version Festival present a capsule view of Chicago’s ever-evolving ecology through a series of events that emphasize the “Do-It-Together” spirit of the Chicago art scenes. Version Festival 10: Infrastructures and Territories begins tomorrow, Thursday, April 22 and runs through May 2nd (pick up a guide to the festival at various galleries and art spaces around town, or download one here). The festival kicks off with the group exhibition called Territories @ the Zhou B Center. At Saturday’s opening performance the Paper Rad band Extreme Animals, LA -based Telefantasy and local giants Mahjongg and much much more will perform at Co-Prosperity Sphere.
On Saturday April 24 and Sunday April 25 the festival takes up diggs at a community center in Bridgeport in order to host its version of an “art fair cum experimental trade show”: the NFO XPO. According to the Festival’s website, this year’s events will include “historical re-enactments, antiwar organizing, Version tv shows, an art parade, an artist-run art expo, a catalog of interventionist strategies, networking between independent groups and spaces, inflatable art, one-night exhibition formats, Do-It-Yourself and Do-It-Together projects, the Tech Noir Bar, a mobile silkscreen printing cart, artist granting projects, a national WPA-inspired public poster project, a free school, impressive musical performances, boring theoretical nonsense, mapping projects, pop-up galleries, Korean/Polish BBQ and more.”
Visit the Version 10 festival website to find the full schedule of events. Check out their Facebook group to learn about upcoming activities and the over 30 events organized by the festival’s 300 participants from around the world. And if you want your Version in the form of 140 characters or less, comedian Nick Bahr will be hosting the Version Tweets. Be there people!
Saturday Lauren and I went to the Co Prosperity Sphere to check out the NFO XPO. In all honesty I hadn’t been to a Version festival in three years. Three years ago both myself and several friends were stranded in Bridgeport at 2am in the rain and miles from the train (no taxis would come pick us up and the bus had stopped running). So, with that incident behind me, I returned to Version Fest in a car and with a fresh amount of optimism.
The layout of the fair looked liked most art fairs in the sense that each artist/organization/gallery had an individual booth and objects were either being sold/bartered/given away.
Golden Age, manned by the always rad Marco Kane Braunschweiler (pictured right), was one of my favorite booths. They carried work by Robin Camron. I was really into Camron’s “Mind Maps” and picked up her most recent book also titled “Mind Maps” which maps the artist’s thoughts through extended ven diagrams.
Green Lantern and Three Walls held it down in usual fashion. Aaron Delehanty had a psychiatric help booth set up which resembled “Peanuts”. I did not get a chance get Aaron’s advice but I did hear him tell a woman that she needed to “go get a job”. I was also sort of taken with Daniel Mellis’ Institute for Socioaesthetic Research. According to a pamphlet, “the institute is dedicated to discovering the aesthetic possibilities inherent in the research and observation of social structures.” To be honest I was initially attracted to the stock of paper that their pamphlet and business cards were printed on (I spend all day at work talking about paper) but also became interested in some of the services they offered. “The Fourth Amendment on Paper (Bags) Learn about your constitutional rights while enjoying a refreshing beverage at Maria’s (Kaplan’s Liquors),960 w. 31st street. Every purchase comes with the Fourth Amendment and instructions for use on a paper bag. Remember, bags at a liquor store are no substitute for legal advice.”
My overall feeling when I left was that I liked some portions of Version but wished there were more participants. And being the optimist that I surprisingly am, I think that more participation will come over time.
The fifth person to email me (email@example.com) will receive a copy.
via Golden Age
“Mind Maps is a foray into the mind of the artist. A brilliant exposé showing the polarities that keep the artist working; happiness vs. sadness, aesthetic vs. the anti aesthetic, life vs. death and everything in between. With thoughts being the material for everyday life, Cameron’s Mind Maps allows the reader a vivid and cathartic introspection.
Robin Cameron is a Canadian artist living in New York whose work has been widely shown in galleries, magazines and books. With a five year bookmaking career yielding over 10 titles her work elegantly and humanly blends drawing, graphic design, and visual poetry. ”
If you have never been to Golden Age you definitely should check it out.
1744 W. 18th Street
Chicago, IL 60608