Off-Topic invites artists, curators, writers, and cultural workers to discuss a subject not directly related to the practice of making art. We would like to welcome Stephanie Burke as our latest guest with her post, â€œFirestarterâ€. Stephanie is a Chicago based photographer who graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009. She currently writes for Bad at Sports, runs Art Talk Chicago and works as the Managing Editor for Chicago Art Magazine.
by: Stephanie Burke
Last night I had a dream: my husband and I were living in an abandoned church in some metropolis. The church was high on a hill overlooking the city. I was sitting in the scrubby grass outside the church, watching the sun go down and listening to talk radio. An announcer cut into my program, saying the mayor had decided to start shutting the power off at night to save money. I looked out over the city to the west, and watched the lights blackout below me as the sun dipped below the horizon. As the last rays of sunlight disappeared, I started thinking about how I was going to build a fire without drawing attention to myself. In mid-thought, I woke up. I rolled over and related my dream to Jeriah, including my quandary as to how to build an un-noticeable fire. Without skipping a beat, he said flatly, â€œa Dakota Fire Hole, thatâ€™s what youâ€™d use.â€ Yes, thatâ€™s what I would use. Knowing how to build things like a Dakota Fire Hole, and a fire in general, is an important part of wilderness and disaster preparedness, a topic of great import to me. Thus, I have decided to dedicate my Bad at Sports Off Topic entry to fire building in context of survivalism.
Fire is one of the most important things you will need in a survival situation. Fires provide heat to dry clothes, warm bodies, cook food, and boil water to destroy pathogens. It also provides light to work by, to use as a signal for rescue, and to aid in general peace of mind. For all these reasons, you need to plan ahead and understand the basics of starting and maintaining fires.
First, you need to understand the needs of a fire. A fire needs three things: fuel, air, and an ignition source (or spark). Fuel is what is feeding the fire, usually in the form of wood, paper, leaves, twigs, etc., and generally, the drier the fuel the better. Overly wet fuel can be used once a fire is going, assuming it has been dried out near the fire before use, or the fire is raging extremely hot. Be careful when gathering your fuel, many parks and wilderness areas have restrictions on wood gathering.
There are three main fuel types you need to gather: tinder, kindling, and denser, long burning material. Starter and kindling are essential to starting a fire (without gasoline or road flares), and it continues to surprise me when a watch people try to start fires without them. If I had a dollar for every time Iâ€™ve seen someone crumple up 2 wads of newspaper, cover them with 4 or 5 four-inch diameter logs, then light it expecting a the newspaper to get the logs going, Iâ€™d have, like, a few hundred dollars.
Good morning to all of you out there in TV land. I hope you are feeling bloated and a little ashamed, now that the national day of gluttony is done. I wish I could say I have an exciting lineup of shows to get you out into the streets, crawlin’ off those extra calories, but alas, there are but three shows opening this weekend, all tonight. Now, I’m not putting all three on my picks, if you want to know the other two you can find them on my Gallery Crawl. No, dearies, I’m giving you my one pick, from three: The Op Shop.
So, I’m not exactly sure what the story is here. It has something to do with Laura Shaeffer over at Home Gallery, and includes a lot of artists she’s shown: Anders Nilsen, Katrin Asbury, Rachel Tredon, and Albert Stabler, among others. As far as I can tell, it is a new idea for a roaming space, called the Op(portunity) Shop, derived from the Australian term for thrift shops, apparently. Not sure where it’s going next, if anywhere, but hey, if you happen to be in the vicinity of Hyde Park, why not stop by?
The Op Shop is located at 1613 E. 55th. Reception tonight, 6-10pm.
Hey ya’ll. There are quite a few shows I’m interested in the weekend, not all of which are getting dropped into the Top 5, but which still bear a mention: Bob Jones at 65 Grand, Ann and Maria Ponce at Packer Schopf, Joe Hardesty at Western Exhibitions, Creator/Curator at HungryMAN Gallery, and New Blood 3 at the Chicago Cultural Center. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to everything, but you’ll be happy with any of the above mentioned selections along side any or all the shows listed in the Top 5 (which, by the way, are listed in no particular order). That’s it for now, get your ass out there and see some art!
Top 5 for 11/20-11/22:
1. Technically, It’s Art at Abryant Gallery
Abryant Gallery, run by Angela Bryant, is one of those spaces that Chicago is so good at producing, a space run by people just out of school, showing people just out of school, but actually doing it relatively well. For this round, Bryant is featuring the work of Eric Ashcraft, Madeleine Bailey, Mark Beasley, Rebecca Berman, GROUP CABIN, Andy Cahill, Lauren Gregory, Maxon Higbee, Aaron Hoffman, Nadia Hotait, Mik Kastner, Lisa MAjer, Gary Pennock, Sarah Perez, Micah Schippa, Briana Schweizer, Alan Strathmann and Synica Whitney in Technically, It’s Art.
Opening Reception: Friday 7-10pm. Abryant Gallery is located at 1842 N. Damen Ave., 4th Fl.
2. IN(DI)VISIBLE at Noble & Superior Projects
For their second exhibition, Noble & Superior Projects, a new apartment gallery space, is putting up the work of TW Li’ and Whitney Faile called IN(DI)VISIBLE. I am really impressed by N&S P, the couple who run it are damn professional, and though the work isn’t the best thing I’ve ever seen in Chicago (a bit of a tall order), they show some goos stuff for an apartment gallery. I am particularly interested int TW Li’s work (have a look at his website), but I’m a fan of their paring strategy, so I bet the dialog between Li and Faile’s work will be worth seeing.
Opening Reception: Friday 6-10pm. Noble & Superior Projects is located at 1418 W Superior St. #2R
When I first moved to Chicago, shortly after the initial shock and depression wore off (KIDDING…just kidding…mostly), I set about exploring what Chicago’s gallery scene had to offer. Because so much exists off the proverbial beaten track, and I moved here with nary an art friend to show me around, there was a short time during which I thought River North was it when it came to art galleries in Chicago. Now, to be sure, there is much to love in River North, but we all know there is far more to Chicago art than one neighborhood’s offerings.
But there’s never been a book or newspaper or website that clearly maps it all out for you. Until now. Chicago Art Map is the brainchild of local artist/writers/fellow BaS team members Kathryn Born and Stephanie Burke, who’ve been slaving away under cover of night for months and months getting this extraordinary tool ready for public beta launch. Not only is the interactive Art Map literally a map that enables you to see what’s happening art-wise in Chicago by searching according to venue type (i.e. alternative or apartment gallery vs. commercial spaces, along with museums and art centers), neighborhood, and even genre (like 20th Century masters, outsider art, painting or furniture/decorative), it’s a magazine too.
A magazine that already has numerous feature articles online and a boatload of reviews, many of which first appeared on Art Talk Chicago. It’s an exciting new development on a number of levels, and as with all new launches they could use your help with working out the bugs. Go on over, click around, use the map to help plan your art weekend, and send Kathryn and Stephanie your kudos and constructive feedback; I know they’ll appreciate it. Have a great weekend everybody.
I am really stoked to announce that Stephanie Burke will be posting her top picks for shows each week on BAS. All of us at BAS have followed her Gallery Crawl for some time now. For more info and to view the entire gallery crawl each week check out Stephanie’s site. Thanks again to Lauren for letting us know what is going on around town until now, you can still see what she is up to with weekly reviews.
“Stephanie Burke (Nevada City, CA 1984) is a Chicago-based artist and educator. She recently received her MFA in Photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Recent exhibitions have included her MFA Thesis Exhibition at SAIC, the Rockford Midwestern at the Rockford Art Museum, and That’s What She Said in association with Version09. She maintains a weekly listing of Chicago art events at thegallerycrawlandsomuchmore.blogspot.com.”