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SAIC spearheads citywide performance festival

(Chicago Tribune file photo )
January 25, 2013|By Erin Vogel @eringejuice | For RedEye

The School of the Art Institute is partnering with the city of Chicago to host a three-month performance art festival that is shaping up to be one of the biggest citywide, multivenue performance festivals of its kind.

The IN>TIME fest, which kicked off Jan. 11, began as a biennial performance series at the Chicago Cultural Center in 2008 and 2010. After the second series brought in more than 2,000 people, SAIC faculty member and graduate coordinator Mark Jeffery and Chicago Artists Resource co-founder Sara Schnadt realized they had enough momentum to turn it into a citywide event.

SAIC is working with a variety of partners--from DIY spaces, to city museums, to schools—including the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Chicago Cultural Center, Links Hall, The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, Sullivan Galleries, threewalls, 6018 North, Hyde Park Art Center and Roosevelt University to host and display performance artists, video screenings, lectures and symposia from both locally and internationally known artists.

"I always say that we are a city of workers, we're a city of doers, we are a city of careers, and we are a city that's curious," said Jeffery, who is originally from the United Kingdom. "There's a really interesting work ethic which I'm always excited about with Chicago. We have these very long winters here, from October to March, and I think that in that place of hibernation – why don't we activate hibernation and actually get people to come out and see real bodies working in time and space?"

"There are examples of festivals like this in Europe, in New York, in Portland, in Austin, and I just feel that we need one here in Chicago. I mean, we don't need one--we have one now, it's here."

Jeffery said one of the highlights of the fest is the involvement of Switzerland-based performance artist Maria Ribot (known simply as "La Ribot"), who will be performing her piece "Laughing Hole," which she has never before performed in the U.S., on Feb. 24 at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Jeffery has been impressed with Roosevelt University's showcase of work for the festival, he said, as well as a class of SAIC students' work with three of the festival's artists called "Frozen Intensities."

"To me, as a teacher, [the festival] is an opportunity to expose students from not just our art school but from all across the city to these experimental forms, and that to me is really exciting," Jeffery said.

The festival runs through March 3. For information, visit http://www.in-time-performance.org/.

Erin Vogel is a RedEye special contributor.

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