With "SABOTAGE", production and exhibition took place in the same hybrid space, and thus in this instance, interestingly, it was a temporal factor that transformed the work into a completed piece; the aforementioned “transformational power” was exerted by the opening date.
I have focused on a small area of the city of Chicago, annotated according to the specificity of that moment. This text is one reading of that part of the city, experienced through the physical experience of walking.
While museums have been closed due to COVID-19 lockdown measures, it is remarkable how much of the discussion around the suspension of their activities has mobilized the notion of “publicness.” Museums have been described as “serving the public” (András Szántó), hailed as part of the public infrastructure in that they “are like parks” (Bart De Baere), and referred to in a general sense as public institutions: “It is our collective role as public institutions to support artists and culture at this time” (Hans Ulrich Obrist). But what does it mean for a museum to serve “the public,” or to be a “public” institution, today?
For Dean—a British American artist of Nigerian descent—proximity to these objects will help in the search. Even a refrigerator or a clothes dryer prescribes predigested roles and values, and has been shaped by history and politics in ways that need unpacking. Now Dean is here to hold them to account.
Within the static atmosphere of inactivity, the psyche is often pushed to reinvent itself as pure storm: one is easily held hostage by the mind and its hotheaded whims. The boundaries between self and other are impossible to hold onto. The fragility and the permeability of the body are made apparent in these exchanges. Often it feels hallucinatory and stifling at the same time. I start to feel foreign. My self flickers with the shifting weather outside my window: atmospheric, political, emotional. Read it as you wish. I am told it’s a cliché to think this way.