The 2007 Chicago Humanities Festival begins this week, the focus delivered under the title “The Climate of Concern,” and, as explained by Artistic Director Lawrence Weschler in his opening statement, not only the literal changing climate at hand, but also “more generally and broadly about humankind’s place in nature, and the future of that relation.”
The festival, which annually infests the city with a staggering amount of informative, educational and often essential discussions and performances, continues to impress with this year’s batch of participants from all realms of the arts. The list of intriguing events is too massive to document here, but these are some highlights:
“Visions of Concern” opens October 26 at David Weinberg and features artists Tara Donovan, Maya Lin, Margaret Wertheim and David Opdyke as they explore global climate concerns through various mediums, including sculpture and installation. Already open is Doug Aitken’s “thaw” at the Art Institute of Chicago, a video installation that follows an Alaskan glacial mass, a reference to eventual, physical change, to be sure, but also an exploration of image and sound, as the artist uses both synthetic and organic noise to complement his ideas. Strachan Donnelly, the president and founder of the local Center for Humans and Nature offers his perspective on mankind’s dedication to nature on October 27 at the Notebaert Nature Musuem (10:30am). Sadhu Johnston, the commissioner of the Department of the Environment of the City of Chicago discusses the city’s plans for a greener future, also October 27 at the Notebaert Nature Museum (1:15pm). Later in the day, at Steppenwolf, the theater company performs two one-acts, one by award-winning novelist Don DeLillo and another by Teatro Luna co-founder Tanya Saracho (3pm & 7:30pm). Chicago Sinfonietta performs with guest soloist R. Carlos Nakai October 29 at the Symphony Center (7:30pm), and the “Sustainable Building in Chicago: A Scorecard” panel, featuring City of Chicago Green Projects Administrator Erik Olsen and architecture expert Helen Kessler, goes underway at 7:30pm, October 30, at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
And that’s just the first week. (Tom Lynch)
The Chicago Humanities Festival runs through November 11 at various venues. Visit www.chfestival.org for more info, and newcity.com for extended listings.