#12 Intersections

Intersections is very much a buzzword — from the snazzy image of Chicago as a “crossroads” within mainstream tourist narratives, to efforts at movement building among dominant and entrenched political organizations, and even the institutionalization of intersectional analysis within academic programs. Here we seek a different set of questions about how we cross paths, how we build and sustain connections across lives full of contradictions, across a city built on divisions and inequalities. It is easy to assume that intersection is somehow implicit in the efforts of a project and organization like AREA. Our task is to ask questions about the types of intersections, their quality, and the effects of our efforts.

Here is a selection from the print issue — all the contributions will be archived here between November 2012 and January 2013


Rozalinda Borcilă

Contributing Editors

Mónica Díaz Terrazas, Anne Dodge, Martin Macias, Mohamed Mehdi, Muindi Fanuel Muindi, Lorenza Perelli, Claudia García-Rojas, Helena Shaskevich, Gabrielle Toth


Jerome Grand and Kimberly Le


PROXIMAL DISTANCE: reflections on process and proximity

By Caitlin Gianniny and Cathy Alva Mooses — Proximal of the body or the point of attachment. from the Latin proximus – ‘nearest’ + al. 2. v. (trans.) to make someone or something remote or far off in position or nature, to distance one self. from the Latin distare – dis- ‘apart’ + stare ‘stand.’ Distance adj. situated nearer to the center of […]


Inhabiting and Learning Together: Tracing the first five years of AREA Chicago

By Daniel Tucker — An earlier version of this essay was written in May 2011 for a “Pedagogic Notebook” edited by Sitesize (Spain), but was revised in March 2012 for publication in areachicago.org. “Healthy social movements need spaces for learning and experimentation, healthy democracies need wise citizens to make wise decisions about resources and politics, and healthy people need […]

Notes from a Conversation: Migrant Paths of Latin Guitar

By Iván Resendiz with Mónica Díaz Terrazas — The 1st Latin American Guitar Festival Chicago took place in December 2011 in Pilsen. It offered recitals, lectures, master classes and workshops for people interested in Latin American music. The idea to create a Latin American guitar festival is born out of the commitment to inspire art and culture in the Latino immigrant community and […]


A dialogue with Calles y Sueños’ artistic director: Christina Obregón

By Claudia García-Rojas — From  Pilsen, Chicago to Juchitán, Mexico,  we talk about how  Calles y Sueños (CYS) serves as a crossroads for cultural hopscotch, but also as an intersection for geography, language, art, space and economics.

Creative Resistance: Art as Activism

By Neighborhood Writing Alliance — The Neighborhood Writing Alliance (NWA) provokes dialogue, builds community, and promotes change by creating opportunities for adults in Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods to write, publish, and perform works about their lives. Neighborhood adults come together each week in our free, ongoing workshops to dialogue and write about their personal histories, everyday experiences, and reflections on their […]

Native prairie plant, rattlesnake master, reaches towards the cloudy sky above Beaubien Woods.

Chicago’s Unexpected Landscape

By Alison Paul — The sun peaks through the woodland canopy as I gaze upward and see a red-tailed hawk soaring just above the trees. As I walk through the woods the lack of car alarms and police sirens make it almost seem quiet except for the occasional falling dead tree branch and the cacophony of woodland birds and […]


Randolph and Des Plaines

By Euan Hague — Amidst the newly constructed condos of the West Loop, the requisite Starbucks, and high end restaurants serving haute cuisine, is the Randolph and Des Plaines intersection. Here, on a damp evening on 4 May 1886 at around 10:30 pm, a bomb exploded, thrown by an unidentified hand. This is the site of Haymarket. The bombing, […]

WhereisourBailoutt Occupy Chicago March/AIC

In Tribute to Christopher Drew, 1950-2012

By Art Patch Project — Christopher Drew fought two battles at the end of his life. One, a very public and ultimately victorious First Amendment struggle with the State of Illinois. The other a private battle with cancer, known only to those closest to him. For 25 years Chris ran the Uptown Multi-Cultural Art Center and offered free screen printing […]

photo (2)

Torture mask project at Bowen High School

By Bert Stabler — I teach art at Bowen High School, the Alma Mater of white Chicago police commander Jon Burge, whose officers tortured false confessions out of over 100 African-American men over a span of 25 years. Bowen is now a predominantly African-American high school on the southeast side, near Burge’s infamous Area Two station. Our Spring 2010 project […]

Hospice as an Option for Life

By C.J. Martello — Recently, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, wife of Prince William, made her first public appearance and wrote her own speech for the occasion. In England, it was, of course, a major event. It was also a major event for the parents and relatives of children suffering from terminal illnesses. The occasion was the opening of […]

The Historic Fenn House, home to SHOP.  5638 South Woodlawn Avenue.

Anticipating Departure

By John Preus — Home The word conjures up images of chicken soup and stale bread, joyous family life and crippling alienation, boredom and invention, brotherly love and sibling rivalry… . Perennial and immanent, local and metaphysical, nostalgic and future-oriented, the images and memories of home are a conglomerate of emotion-laden things, spaces, visions, and the people and gods […]

Three Crises: 30’s-70’s-Today

By Brian Holmes — This is a story about a collective learning experiment at Mess Hall in Roger’s Park, Chicago. But it has to start with a question.

AgainstEquality - image by Ryan Conrad

Occupying Gay Rights: Against Equality and the Neoliberal Project of “Equality”

By Karma Chávez, Ryan Conrad, and Yasmin Nair, for the radical queer collective Against Equality — Against Equality, a radical queer editorial collective, engages with a rich, dense queer history where queers and many allies fought for justice and against war, the confines of gender norms and marriage, and the prison industrial complex.

Cecil Dewey Nelson, Jr., at easel in military uniform, at Tuskegee, in early 1940s

Mapping Cultural Migrations between Champaign and Chicago

By Angela Rivers and Sharon Irish — I first met Angela Rivers in May of 2009. A group of us at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign had gotten a small grant to bring Angela from Chicago to campus as an artist-in-residence after Sam Smith, the engagement director at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, had met Angela in Fall 2008 […]

Queering the Unspectacle

By Ni’Ja Whitson — Made unspectacle, the performers in these works are only bound to the universe of their creation. The notion of queerness as an active alternative to the status quo – theoretically, ideologically, and sexually - is challenged by ritual performance and necessarily turns the critique in on queerness itself.

Notes from a Conversation: Intersections, a Brunch Table

By AREA Chicago — On March 3, AREA Chicago organized Intersections: A Brunch Table, hosted at Access Living. Panelists represented a range of very different cultural, artistic and organizing projects, with distinct languages, organizational forms and goals. However, we felt there were commonalities that cut across these differences. All of these projects in some way emerged from situated or […]