Drawings, models and real life iterations, 2012 – 2019. The podium is imagined as a deployable speakers’ corner that is both functional and symbolic. Inspired by the effective coalition of citizens and immigrants/non-citizens who fought successfully to block the building of a new for-profit detention center by Corrections Corporation of America in Crete IL. The Speakers’ Podium’s two halves rely on each other. Suburban house collides with prison fence to invoke the needed voices and ever-presence of the incarcerated among the free in a country that locks up 2 million.
2016 iteration of the Mobile Speakers’ Podium – 8ft x 4ft x 2ft – steel, siding, casters and chainlink fence, with the support of the Weinberg-Newtown Gallery, Chicago. In Image 6, a student uses the Speakers’ Podium to read the Manifesto of Tania Bruguera’s Immigrant Movement International.
The Mobile Speakers’ Podium was installed and activated by programs at sites around Chicago throughout 2016, then was hosted by Axis Lab’s community space in Uptown, Chicago: watch a 3-min video of selected activations here
July 2016: Comfort Station in Logan Square.
October 14 – November 6 2016: U Chicago Arts and Public Life Muffler Shop, Garfield Arts Block.
December 2016 – 2017: AxisLab’s Baseline space under the Argyle CTA stop in Uptown.
In 2018 the Mobile Speakers’ Podium was reimagined with artist Regin Igloria, for the “3 Days, 42 Miles Chicago to Gary Walk” to highlight the traffic of people from the Midwest to the Gary Airport Deportation Hub. It was retrofitted with a new chassis and wheels by Bikes ‘N Roses, and pulled by Regin and Jenny all the way from River North, Chicago to the Steel City Academy in Gary, IN, where students from Sam Love’s Art and Politics class took charge of it. Steel City has since hosted further speak-outs and workshops around political zine-making and speech.
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Contact us if you’d like to invite the Speakers’ Podium to your venue.
Drawings shown: Graphite on paper, two 12in x 9in,
Models shown: two paper models 9in x 5in x 2in each
Drawings and models for mobile double speakers’ podiums, half for non-citizens, half for citizens.