New Media

  • Park District
    Nelly Agassi, Merav Argov, Ionit Behar, and Andrew Schachman
    Fieldwork Collaborative Projects

Fieldwork Collaborative Projects, “Public Park,” Still of Mayor Emanuel press conference, Chicago, 2018.

Park District is an interactive, web-based, documentary and archive exposing the Chicago park network as a multiple and distributed platform for cultural life and civic activation. With over 600 parks and 438 fieldhouse structures, Chicago’s Park District is a unique network of public spaces. We are interested in both local and global questions of “publicness”—the complex patterns of individuals and communities, and the systems that organize them. As a network of sites, each park is a polyvalent territory, at once natural, social, psychological, ecological, political, ethnic, historic, and economic. Through off-site interviews and in-situ videography, the documentary portrays the Park District as a platform of infinite potential. While this documentary supports and inspires cultural activation and art production, it also supports civic authorities, community organizers, educators, among others, as a resource and basis to promote their facilities and activities. This diverse range of constituents may use the documentary to portray their role and work within the Park District.

Nelly Agassi works in performance, installation, video, textile, and paper. Her artwork addresses the idea of the body and notion of intimacy within public space in relation to architecture. Her work engages the personal, emotional, and universal concepts. Agassi is a 2001 graduate of the MA program of combined media in Chelsea College of Art and Design, London. She received the Nathan Gottesdiener Foundation for Israeli Art Prize and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art award for artistic encouragement from the Israel Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport. Agassi has shown her work extensively throughout the world—in sites such as the Israel Museum, Doritto Rovesscio, Milan Triennial, Poor Farm, Hyde Park Art Center, and at the Tate Modern.

Merav Argov is a graduate candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Urban Planning and Policy Department. She received her bachelor’s of fine art degree in 1997 from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem. She has participated in civic planning and programing in Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, Jaffa, Amsterdam, and Chicago, with insight into urban planning, art installations as well as programing and spatial enterprises. Along with art, environment planning and consultancy, she has worked at Bezalel Public Advocates in Jerusalem, and with the Arabic-Jewish organization for coexistence and democracy in Jaffa. Her works are shown at the Rosenthal Museum in Germany. Argov’s work dealing with the relation between people and their environment has been reviewed and featured in the Haaretz Magazine.

Ionit Behar is an art historian, curator, and critic. She is a PhD candidate in art history at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her interests are focused on 20th-century Latin American and North American art, the history of exhibitions, sculpture after 1960, and theories of space and place. Behar is interested in the relation between the academic discipline of art history and the practice of museum curating. She holds a master’s degree in art history, theory, and criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a bachelor’s of art theory from Tel Aviv University, and a degree in art administration from the Bank Boston Foundation in Montevideo. She is the curator of collections and exhibitions at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership and the director of curatorial affairs for Fieldwork Collaborative Projects.

Andrew Schachman designs environments, infrastructures, and installations. He is the executive codirector of two organizations that are experimental spaces for delivering arts and culture within existing metropolitan networks: Floating Museum and Fieldwork Collaborative Projects. Trained as an architect, he designed and managed projects for the offices of Zaha Hadid, Perkins and Will, Carol Ross Barney, and Doug Garofalo. His projects have received numerous awards including the Distinguished Building Award from the American Institute of Architects and The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design. Schachman is a studio associate professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture.

Jon Satrom is new media artist, organizer, occasional teacher, and founder of Studiothread, a boutique Chicago-based digital studio that primarily works with nonprofits and cause-based organizations. Now, in its 10th year, Studiothread has become a rich hub of cultural activity. Clients represent a diverse assemblage of artists and organizations, including: 3Arts, The ACLU of Illinois, Arts Work Fund, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Floating Museum, The Fry Foundation, Marwen, Lucy Parsons Labs, and Ravinia. From projection design to hypernarrative experiments; from digital tools for police accountability to community projects promoting restorative justice; studiothread helps raise funds, awareness, and spirits by doing great work for great projects and causes across Chicago.

Fieldwork Collaborative Projects was founded in 2014 and registered as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit in 2016. Fieldwork is dedicated to increasing cultural capital in the Chicago region, seeking potentials already latent within the region's existing public spaces, networks, and infrastructures. We work with park districts, cultural authorities, and public schools, as well as develop relationships and collaborate with artists, curators, designers, urbanists, civic authorities, and diverse range of participants. Working beyond the confines of art museums and spaces, we organize exhibitions, performances, and happenings to extend latent cultural potential within existing infrastructures. Our interdisciplinary work transforms spaces normally conceived for sport and recreation into platforms for cultural activity and civic engagement.