Our latest Centerfield column is up on Art:21 blog. This week, Abigail Satinsky talks to Chicago artist and organizer Daniel Tucker about his platforming project “Visions for Chicago.” A brief excerpt follows; click on through to read the full post on Art:21.
I’ve known Daniel Tucker for about five years now and I’ve always thought of him as a true Chicago artist, somewhere in between artist, organizer, writer, and administrator and always interested in collaboration and bringing in multiple perspectives to any given situation. For anyone that’s worked with him, they know that Daniel’s candor can be both disarming and challenging. When one gets involved in Daniel’s projects, like I have in the past, he’s straightforward and conscientious in his process. Is that a Chicago thing? I’ve come to think of it that way, probably because of him.
He’s done a lot of amazing work, like founding AREA Chicago six years ago and then, when he wanted to move on, gracefully stepping back from the project to be taken on by new energetic group of organizers. What I love about AREA (which stands for Art Research Education Activism and is a publication about culture and politics in Chicago) is that it gives voice to what people are actually doing to transform their city, not a theoretical discourse about what might be possible. And there’s big changes happening on the ground here, with Rahm Emanuel handily winning the mayoral election after Daley decided he was done. I’m new to Chicago but I know that this is a really, really big deal.
And so Daniel is using this opportunity to create a platforming project called “Visions for Chicago” for Chicagoans to articulate what they want to happen next. Starting in November 2010 and lasting through the beginning of the mayoral term in May 2011, Daniel is giving out hundreds of handmade election-style yard signs to politically-engaged Chicagoans throughout the city to tell their own vision for the future. Photographs of the signs and their makers will be published in a book by Green Lantern Press to be released May 16, 2011 at 6pm at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum. We talked about how the project started for him and where it’s going.
Abigail Satinsky: Let’s start out with a bit of a background question. You have a lot of experience making work in public space and an interest in graffiti. How does this all fit together for you?
Daniel Tucker: Since I was a teenager, I’ve been interested in the political conflicts surrounding people’s access to and definition of public space. That drew me to be a graffiti writer, which was really my introduction to art making and all of the considerations of concept, audience, context, and formal design that come along with art making. And that stuff is really particular and important when you think about graffiti, street art, or more antagonistic forms of public art. Pretty soon after my initial interest in graffiti and its sub-cultural (think hip-hop and punk rock youth culture) as well as aesthetic traditions (bubble letters, characters, and “wild styles” as well as the more recent “artschool” graffiti that involves putting lots of objects and forms not traditionally associated with hip-hop graffiti into public space), I began to get bored with the general questions associated with making work in public and wanted to deal more with content. (Read more).