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Collection of group terminology from “Group Work”- the book by Temporary Services serves as reference for the festival.

Collection of group terminology from “Group Work”- the book by Temporary Services serves as reference for the festival.

In coalition with many partners, Public Media Institute presents a series of exhibitions and programs that highlight the creative work of groups. Seeking useful models to inspire experimental infrastructures for culture and politics, this multi-pronged festival will gather activists, architects, artists, buddies, brewers chefs, journalists, incarcerated youth, psychologists and many others to work through what it is to work together.

The Togetherism festival examines creative experiments with horizontal, collective art-making and organizing. Work done in groups provokes us to consider more natural social forms and challenges conventions of value in art and society. What does it mean to work collectively in the time of isolated, individualized labor in the arts and beyond? Why do groups come together, and how do they fall apart?

The series is inspired by (and hopes to inspire) forms of radical, liberating practice where collective creative work rethinks and reforms the ways of living in society. The festival will feature the work of both historical and contemporary groups from Chicago and beyond. Not quite utopian, each group serves variously as a proof of concept, a failure, a new direction to pursue, an example of why *we* need to change.

Highlights will include:

  • The relaunch of “Groups + Spaces,” a web platform built by Temporary Services for artist groups, artist-run spaces and self-publishers. Co-Prosperity Sphere will host wiki-thons to populate and update the database.

  • The exhibition Now What?! Avocacy, Activism, and Alliances in American Architecture since 1968, presented by ArchiteXX collective

  • A major exhibition organized in collaboration with Just Seeds Collective, coinciding with their semi-annual convening in Chicago this October,

  • Tender House project: an exhibition at Chicago Bridgehouse Museum featuring architect Mejay Gula and others’ visions to use the city’s underutilized bridge houses for community art spaces

  • A Group Relations Conference and performance organized by artists Netta Sadovsky and Fred Schmidt-Arenales will examine dynamics and power relations within groups of creatives;

  • Reenactments of important group artworks, a radio series and a publication featuring the work of such contemporary and historical groups groups as Deep Time, Related Tactics, Artists for a Democratic Society, Mutant Salon, Temporary Services, Lucy Parsons Lab, HAHA, InCubate, ArchiGo, Project Fielding, Art for a Democratic Society, Related Tactics & Feel Tank.

  • Preservation of Fire: featuring a jazz poster exhibition, live radio broadcast and concerts with Angel Bat Dawid, Isaiah Collier, Ben LaMar Gay, AACM, Junius Paul, the Drum Divas, Shanta Nurullah, Isaiah Spencer, Will Miller’s Resavoir (featuring Akenya), Sura Dupart, Soji Adebayo and others.

  • Science (is not) Fair: A participatory queer science fair explores how technology and bio-medical systems interact with, or ignore, LGBTQ identities and bodies. The fair will expose new ideas and artworks made by artists, scientists and queers alike. A publication will be formed by these conversations and artworks alongside germane academic papers. Curated by David Nasca.