I usually work late on Wednesdays, which has the nice benefit of affording me a copy of the new Chicago Reader to check out on the train ride home. I always look forward to it, if only to know what great things I’m missing in the city every week.
This week’s issue had an article about something I’d never heard of, AREA Chicago, which was in the news for the release of its 10th issue of an amazing-sounding Collaborative Art and Information Project and because of its pending re-organization due to the leaving of its founder and leader.
AREA—the acronym stands for Art, Research, Education, and Activism—is a sometimes bewildering biannual that dedicates each issue’s hodgepodge of essays, advocacy reporting, interviews, and art (often in the form of maps or photo essays) to a different subject. It’s written entirely by volunteers who run the gamut from academics to sex workers and always includes a fair number of publishing virgins. In the five years since it was started by editor Daniel Tucker, AREA—including its website and related projects and events—has become a nexus for all things arty, green, active, and progressive, a touchstone for and celebration of the city’s scattered, diverse social justice community.
I finally had a chance to pull up their site today, where I found the site for Issue #10 (and, as the article promised, most of the content of the issue). The title of Issue #10? Institutions and Infrastructures. A timely topic for the bunch of us, no?
Even better, it was full of great (by which I mean thoughtful/thought-provoking topics, perspectives, and possibilities) stuff–like this paean to the post office and this on the architecture of invisibility and this on the fine/non- line between performance art and leadership–and I haven’t yet come close to looking at all of it.
I stopped reading after those three because: A) I want to get an actual copy and see what it looks and feels like, not to mention provide some support; and B) I wanted to go back to Issue #1 and start from the beginning.