Terrain Biennial The Franklin, We Are Not Really Strangers. Oak Park, Three Ecologies.
We are Not Really Strangers plays with a rainbow spectrum of colored plastics attached to a chain-link fence to transform and examine the sheer density of chain fencing on the West Side, an area bifurcated by development and disinvestment. As an architectural material, fences create a psychic mass that is distinct from other parts of the city, acting as an overlay that can sometimes be very tense as citizens contend and participate with every day.
The vibrating, reflective color and material aims to entertain the neighborhood residents who pass by in hopes of giving the unexpected environmental change a sort of release with the moment of visual play that abstracts and reflects the materiality of the street. At the same time, the work probes the social and economic systems that shape communities and issues of class, race, and gender that lie beneath its pattern, mapping out local migrations and economies of our urban life. The work investigates the conditions of new urban landscapes, including the effects of gentrification, renewal, and violence in the city.
Jennifer Mannebach's neighbors came to her backyard to record her chickens' coos and clucks and inspired this nighttime projection in the window of her front porch. The window installation uses a text feed from an essay in Felix Guattari’s Three Ecologies. In it, he extends his definition of ecology beyond environmental concerns to include human subjectivity itself and social relations. People become mental ecologists to live in a deeply connected state of creativity and to consider how we work together in a collective struggle against damaging effects on society. The video is of Jennifer's backyard ecology captures her chickens and bees' day-to-day' activity. The video is in conversation with posters that are put up around the neighborhood, searching for lost ecologies like a pet owner looking for their dearly loved companions.