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Art in the time of awfulness.

Greetings to you.

I wanted to share with you a social practice work title #FreeListening, that launched over Memorial Day Weekend with the annual Chicago Fluxfest.

I have been taking notes on listening for awhile and I came across notes from 4-5 years ago.  I have been wanting to do a piece about listening and wasn’t sure if there was a enough meat about my concept.  I have taken the leap while not knowing where it may lead, which is exciting and terrifying.

Below is the body of my proclamation, available to anyone who has been heard, by receiving a Certificate of Being Heard.  Each will be hand lettered by me, along with an embossed medallion for complete authenticity.  Each certificate includes the Proclamation along with tips to enhance your own listening skills.

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#FreeListening – A proclamation for listening from the studio of

Catherine Schwalbe of Chicago, IL

#FreeListening – a social practice work

Proclamation

Whereas, widespread social media and technology have set us up to make ourselves loud and necessarily heard

Whereas, this artist has been told she is a great listener

Whereas, People of Color, our Elders, our Children, Free Thinkers, those who are non-binary thinking, those who are urban, those who are rural, those who are fill in the blank here, are in need of the dominant culture to sit down and listen

Whereas, all people could benefit from being heard and learning tips about being a good listener

Whereas, we speak of the fine art of speaking and we need to consider the fine art of listening

Whereas, this artist makes opportunities to engage fellow humans in her art and recreation therapy practice

Whereas, the role of older adults can be sounding boards for younger generations

Whereas, this artist has a history of social practice works

Whereas, there is value in the simple act of being heard

NOW THEREFORE, I, Catherine Schwalbe of Chicago, Illinois, do hereby proclaim Fluxfest 2018 Chicago and beyond as an opportunity to engage in #FreeListening, in Chicago and beyond, and urge all citizens to become familiar with the services and benefits of the fine art of listening, offered by the artist herself, and to support and participate in Schwalbe’s art practice whenever and wherever you come upon her.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal for #FreeListening, from the studio of Catherine Schwalbe, Chicago, IL, on this day____________________

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Some images taken at 6018North during Chicago Fluxfest last month.  Thank you Pate Conway, for the lovely documentation.

A person being heard at 6018North.

My sign is out at 6018North during Chicago Fluxfest 2018

Side note:  Following a post on my Instagram using the hashtag #freelistening, I received a couple of very supportive messages from this amazing group.  I decided to move forward with my piece, even though there might be some overlap with intent.

 

If you are interested in hosting or have any skills listed below such as

  • Wanting to be heard
  • Wanting to be a guest listener
  • Offering a location for #FreeListening
  • Wanting more information about #FreeListening
  • You speak a foreign language or use ASL and want to participate

kindly contact me at casbah3d@gmail.com or comment on this blog.

As always, thank you for paying attention.

 

 

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Note:  This blog entry is dedicated to Keith Buchholz.  Without his invitation into this amazing group of creatives that is Fluxus, Sewing Forgiveness may never have been born.  With many thanks dear Keith.

Friday night September 5, will mark the next of many Social Practice performances titled Sewing Forgiveness.  Specifically, Sewing Forgiveness:  City of Chicago, will (and already has) entail a variety of sites and a variety of audiences, literally across the city of Chicago.

The piece was drawn from life; mine; fellow humans; as witness to the environment;  history;  @#$%&, even current events!  The struggle with forgiveness many of us have had, currently have, and inevitably will have again.  I consider the concepts and deep sentiment surrounding forgiveness, letting go, and moving on.    The utter bewilderment at the questions… If? How? When? Why? Who even!  Quite possibly, beginning with forgiving oneself.  If Nelson Mandela can forgive…

Sewing Forgiveness, a Social Practice work, unfolded firstly for the Fluxus Fest of 2013.  It was performed with a fellow human also struggling with forgiveness.  Together the conversation began.  I didn’t know that I would be performing the work outside of a couple of times throughout that four day festival of lovely absurdity.  Fluxus is like that.  Sometimes the works tickles your funny bone but more often the artist’s works enter your bones through your heart.  Fluxus makes us pay attention.

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Fluxus Fest 2013 Dorcester Projects

Fluxus Fest 2013
Dorcester Projects

I will aim to work backwards a bit, starting with this week to announce a performance of

Sewing Forgiveness:  City of Chicago at Wicker Park Lutheran Church  1500 N. Hoyne in conjunction with First Fridays of Wicker Park.  This announcement from our website:

“Arts Sanctuary (Friday, September 5th) – 7-10 p.m.

WPLC will be hosting a First Fridays series entitled “Arts Sanctuary” – a respite for the arts. September’s event is “Mercy, Unity, Restoration,” and features the social practice piece called “Sewing Forgiveness,” including art of various mediums, live jazz, and local beer. The event is free with donation proceeds funding Youth Futures, a local nonprofit cultivating restorative justice programs with young adults in Chicago.”

I would be honored to have you attend my church and our inaugural Arts Sanctuary event this Friday.  If you are unable, send some good energy our way and watch for further posts as they will relate directly with

Chicago Artists Month – Crossing Borders and this work

Sewing Forgiveness:  City of Chicago.

Thanks for reading and thanks for paying attention.

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