Out of Site 2015

So it’s that time of the summer when one of my favorite events takes place: Out of Site. Out of Site or OoS is a series of public performance art in Wicker Park/West Town area founded by Carron Little. The Jury panel of Roberto Sifuentes, Kevin Sparrow and Carron Little curate the work. Artists come from all over the world to perform their work for Out of Site. It is in its 5th year; I’ve definitely talked about it previously. The catch phrase is perfect: “Do you believe in Wonder?” And yes, Out of Site delivers wonder.

Now the series is in the second week of 2015. The first series of performances took place in Wicker Park Fest, adding a little joy and art to the music/food festival on Milwaukee. Ballenarca, a group from Austin, TX, performed their amazing underwater puppet show. The main focus is a truck sized carnivorous whale whose eye ball and tongue feature as independent puppets. Eels, sharks, jellyfish and many other creatures float, interact, eat one another. And there’s a live band with a operatic singer. Because live music and art is amazing.  It’s quite lovely.

I actually saw the show twice: once at the festival and another rendition in the Julia de Burgos park next to the 606.  While they were the same fundamental shows, the different spaces and times of day impacted the meaning. The one at the Fest was in the middle of the afternoon with a predominantly older crowd while the other performance was in a playground with lots of kids and families at dusk. The darkness enhanced the performance, reinforcing that the show was taking place in the deep part of the ocean.

Ballenarca's puppet showBallernarca at night

There were several other pieces going on during the festival as well. Sheryl Oring’s  I Wish To Say was a lovely discourse about politics and participation. Five performers wore bright 1950s clothing in red, blue and white. Each had a typewriter set up in front. Members of the public were asked to dictate a letter to the president that the performers would type. At the end, you had the option to stamp and send it to the president. I really dug it. Yes, I dictated a letter to the president and mailed it. It was a great opportunity to think about what I wanted the president to know. It made me more of an active participant in our political society.

Sheryl Oring's This I Have to Say

The third piece was Duff Noris’ The Wisdom Box. He also performed it on the following Friday. It’s a one on one piece. The artist stood in the Polish Triangle with a box over his head with room for another head. The audience member would step up into the box. In this mirrored box, the artist would ask you a question and you would have a short but very pleasing conversation. It was a small moment of connection with a stranger. I really dug it.

Duff Noris' The Wisdom Box

The fourth piece that I saw was Jeremy Pauly’s “Composition in Decomposition.” The piece took place 7 to 9 in an outdoor space between two buildings on Milwaukee. There were several performers with reddish brown clay on their faces moving around the space. Some were against walls, others walked slowly, while others laid on the floor. One figure stood in a pool of wet clay. It was a piece that took time to draw you in as these figures lived out their silent movements. None appeared to react to one another. They each were alone in their world. Beautiful.

Jeremy Pauly’'s “Composition in Decomposition”

So that’s just what’s happened so far. We are in week 2 of Out of Site.

Check out the full schedule here: http://outofsitechicago.org/

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