The Swing and the Wall

-1Four (4) Sundays for Intergenerational Creative Idleness, Pleasurable Learning, and Meaningful Exchange.

at The Comfort Station 2579 N. Milwaukee Ave
Brought to you by SHoP & I am 9

#1 June 8

12:00 – 2:00 pm Chocolate Meditation and Geometric Learning through Origami With teaching artist Jerry Marciniak.
1:00 – 5:00 pm Bookbinding Workshop with Amy Sinclair of North Branch Projects
7:00 – 9:00 pm “Class Clowns” Comedy Showcase hosted by David Yontz
Curiosity, observation, and skepticism abound in the life of a comic. This event will showcase a handpicked group of local comedic talent, eager to share their insights on life and learning in the city of Chicago.

#2 June 15

12:00 – 2:00 pm Writing the Archives: A Poetry Workshop. Inspired by the history of classroom materials used in “The Swing and the Wall,” this drop-in workshop is an opportunity for writers and admirers of poetry to take part in informal writing exercises. Obscure footnotes, abandoned cataloging systems and discarded pedagogical materials will inform a Dadaist collage experiment. Led by Kate Hadley Williams.
2:00 – 5:00 pm Junk Drawer Workshop with Eric Bartholomew
3:00 pm Performance by Ashton Frost and TBA
2:00 – 9:00 pm New Chicago Speakers Corner. Scheduled & spontaneous citizens share ideas in any form for a new Chicago.
5:00 – 9:00 pm New Chicago Potluck Pic-Nic!
Picnic begins at 5:00 with Spice! roasting locally sourced meats and veggies. Bring a blanket and food or drinks to share!

#3 June 22

12:00 – 5:00 pm Sunday School Hosted by I am 9
All day family making things workshop. Featuring: Zine making, cardboard and duct tape weaponry and Fort Cardboard! Please bring cardboard boxes, duct tape, a box cutter, and perhaps a kid or two!
3:00 – 5:00 pm Comfort Station Community Forum: Affordable Housing, A Practical Guide. How can residents be involved with neighborhood development, and not just merely informed?
7:00 – 9:00 pm Deadbeat, Barbaric, Richard Album
Experience the sonic exploration of three talented musical acts hand-picked from Chicago’s underground music scene by The Summer Un-School Board of the Off-the-Wall Musicians.

#4 June 29

12:00 – 9:00 pm Intergenerational Workbund
All day spontaneous workshops and group activities. Beginning wtih Radical Mending with Eleanor Ray, then Master Felting with Laura Shaeffer, and a Musical Performance by Dan Godston.

Your workshops, performances, and ideas are welcome in a scheduled or drop-in way.
Contact with questions or proposals.

See the SHoP facebook page ( for regular updates.


This document explains the history of an art piece called “The Swing and the Wall”.

I am Nine meets every morning to discuss projects, opportunities, self-criticize, emotionally process, and think laterally en masse. One morning Laura mentioned an opportunity to program a month in the Comfort Station. This is a building in Logan Square used as a “contemporary art space.” Logan Square is a neighborhood in Chicago undergoing massive and obscure transformation. Jasper mentioned recent protests against rent hikes and evictions.

The first idea was called the “New Chicago Design Symposium.” The idea was to work with a group of fifteen students from public high schools in Chicago to redesign the transportation and education system of the city from the ground up. The first part of the project would be three months of research. We would talk with urban planners, socialist intellectuals, and urban historians. The second phase would be an intensive design workshop lead by an internationally famous European architect. The third phase was a massive public relation campaign complete with exhibitions, events, and the release of a cheap pamphlet publicizing the plan. The motto for this project was appropriated from the notorious Chicago bourgeoisie architect Daniel Burnham: “No Little Plans.”

I am Nine got excited about this idea but decided two days later that they needed a bigger and better suited space for the installation and intervention by aforementioned internationally famous European architect. The ideal space is a temporary learning pavilion constructed on the grounds where the Cabrini Green towers were constructed for principles of covert racial segregation, and then destroyed for principles of even more covert racial segregation.

The second idea was for Laura to live with her nine year old son in the Comfort Station for one month as an experimental public home school. They would have special uniforms, visiting guest artists, frequent neighborhood cookouts, and brown bag lunches concerning rental patterns.

This plan was not feasible as “living” in the Comfort Station turns out is not allowed.

The third idea was to create a public theater in Logan Square called “The Swing and the Wall”. The set would be a swing and a wall. John Preus would build the swing out of discarded Chicago Public School chairs and Kevin Reiswig would build a wall out of discarded Chicago Public School desks. There would be twenty one nights of free performance interpreted both widely and wildly. On the first night there was to be a New Chicago Banquet, then there was a Concert in the Dark, Mrs. Dalloway Readathon, Children’s Lectures, the Logan Square Lyceum, Sad Music Night IV, Adult Playtime, Visitors from the Future Judge The Present, Mock City Council, Kinderchoreographers (which is where children choreograph adults), Audodidacts Lecture on Hidden History, Institutional Skill Share, Debate Night I, II, III and IV: Occupy Spiritual Logan Square, there was the New Regionalist Symposium, Reading of Statistics over Ambient Music, Political Party Party, Homeless Lecture, and it would end with a New Chicago Banquet II. The whole thing was inspired by something that happened to Laura. One night Laura was walking along the street and saw two people singing behind glass. She saw their mouths move but heard no noise.

Due to programming needs at the Comfort Station, this idea was not feasible.

The fourth and last idea is that Laura, from I am 9, is present for 9 hours on 4 Sundays and is inviting artists, friends, and neighbours of all ages, to participate in an evolving program of informal learning and social events. There are some existing programs but room for much more, please contact Laura (!

Ad-Hoc Playground at Elm Park from August 15th to August 18th!


SHoP and the friends of Elm Park invite artists, musicians, performers, storytellers, educators, adults and children of all ages to participate in our first 4 day Ad-Hoc Playground. Since SHoP no longer has a physical space, we are thinking of an outdoor community center without walls with a constantly evolving, additive and participatory process of engagement with our public space. Come out, bring cardboard for a huge Fort Cardboard, make an interactive installation or project or come visit ones made by other artists (artists involved will be listed on Facebook: We hope to have an outdoor concert night Saturday evening and ongoing creative interventions and interactions with the park and it’s neighboring community, focusing on how we can more creatively use our public spaces for social gathering and learning sites, playscapes, living rooms, exhibition space and performance venues without big funding

History: The Ad-Hoc Playground is SHoP’s second investigation into refining a replicable model for the creative transformation of public parks, empty lots and otherwise underutilized public spaces into spontaneously un-programmed play-gardens that may foster newly enriching, but otherwise unlikely, relationships among community members and continue a conversation that meaningfully addresses the humanistic needs of the surrounding community.

Location: 5215 S. Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60615

ELM PARK IS OPEN: from 8:00 am to 11:00 every day.

Ad-Hoc Playground invites participation on these days:

(8/16) FRIDAY
(8/18) SUNDAY

Scheduling will take place on Facebook so please check in frequently. We will also have a community board for sign ups.

Upcoming installations by:

Chiara Galimberti:
For the Ad-Hoc Playground Project I would like to focus on tracing shadows around the park each day for the duration of the park’s occupation. The different shapes of the various elements of the park, from organic forms to man made objects, will be temporarily captured on the paved pathways of the park. The result would be traces of an ever changing phenomenon that would transform with time, as people use the park and add their own tracings. I would like for the tracings to be an exploration of vulnerability their temporality and minuteness, in contrast with the burliness of adjacent apartment buildings and strip malls.

Andrius Kulikaukas:
“Think Through” a walk-through, transparent labyrinth reflecting his lifelong philosophical commitment to the application of knowledge and the quest to discover absolute truth.

More to come, see details on our facebook event page and website:

Home Gallery and SHoP present: Form Follows Function off a short pier


Artists Marissa Lee Benedict, John Preus, and Kevin Reiswig have been commissioned to create specific items of furniture, structures, and/or modifications of existing things and spaces within and around the Nord/Shaeffer home. Each commission reflects both a practical and social wish, the fulfillment of which is tacitly bound up in the artistic process. The exhibition further explores home life as an arena that necessitates intervention and rupture from outside; domestic life is an incrementally self-imposed set of activities, habits, attitudes and rituals, born of archaic patterns, personal history; social life as an art form; the concept of home as the place most familiar, but founded upon the imaginary.

Opening: Saturday July 20th
6:00 to 10:00 pm
Opening performance at 8:00 pm by John Preus, Tadd Cowen and Aaron Shapiro

Closing Brunch: Sunday September 22nd

11:00 am to 3:00 pm
This exhibit will develop over the course of it’s two month run. Visits after opening by appointment. Check in regularly to see progress on commissioned pieces at our blog sites – HOME gallery, on Facebook, or

We look forward to seeing you here!

HOME Gallery

Kevin Reiswig: some thoughts on his work

I get asked many questions regarding the circumstances of my artistic creations: “Who inspired you?” “Where are you from?” “What are you interested in?”, etc. etc.  An answer to any of these questions would be multi-faceted, would require many pages of text, and I would have to open my mouth to talk much more than I’d like to..  However, I’ve noticed there are things in my home which would give a curious observer clues into the motivations and obstacles of my life, telling a story without words: the accumulations and processes of my studio, the adornments of my bedroom, or the books I have read.  In my installation at HOME gallery, I intend to describe my self and my work through a collage of objects and images.  I will do this in the spirit of reflection, in which I hope to offer many (but certainly not all) answers to the one question which has haunted me my entire life: Why did I make that?…

Marissa Lee Benedict: some thoughts about her work

Just re-reading Ken Isaac’s manual, and came across the term “head-tooling” (his word for rethinking or remodeling) – other titles I like from his book: “Getting It Together”, “Interchangeable Parts”, “Liberated Space” …

Revisiting a dialogue around form, function and utopian models of living begun in the 1960s and 70s by the Whole Earth Catalogs and Ken Isaac’s 1974 utopian manual How to Build Your Own Living Structures, I am interested in considering how and what we consider “living” – whether that be the “liveliness” of the materials we work with, the places we occupy or the people we cohabit this planet with.  Invited by Laura Shaeffer and Home Gallery to literally intervene in their living, sleeping and working habits, I am excited to build a modified set of twin “living structures” for her two children’s bedrooms. Grafting these structures into the exiting oak bedframes, I would like to consider how a “living structure” can integrate itself into the daily activities that constitute work, play, sleeping, etc. while providing the flexibility and room for the growth and change required by the  evolving, transforming needs of “living”.