From the Ground Up


September 2–October 2
Reception and panel discussion: Wednesday, September 9, 4:00 p.m.
The LeRoy Neiman Center, 37 S. Wabash Ave., 1st floor

On November 2, 2014, four SAIC classes collaborated with members of the Southeast Environmental Task Force to document the Calumet River from the perspectives of a chartered boat and a tethered weather balloon. Using a camera attached to the balloon, students gathered aerial footage of the riverbank, as well as videotaped, audio-recorded, photographed, and gathered water samples and air quality data from the deck of the boat. 

From the Ground Up considers an extended moment in time on the Calumet River, an industrial corridor on Chicago's South Side, creating a temporary site for reflection on ourselves and the environments we impact. Already polluted by a history of industrial use, the area and surrounding communities continue to be contaminated by toxic black grime blowing from piles of petcoke, a petroleum by-product. The exhibition will encourage others to investigate the history and environment of the river.

Instructors: Laurie Palmer, Sarah Ross, and Lindsey French

Participants: Chen Chen Yu, Samantha Yiyao Chao, Alix Anne Shaw, Nathan Braunfeld, Gulsah Mursaloglu, Dasol Hong, and Jorge Andres De La Torre. With thanks to Andrew Vo for his interview, and other members of Experimental Geographies 2014 for making video stills in class.

Panel discussion:
Environmental Justice and the Calumet River Region

Wednesday, September 9, 4:15 p.m.
The LeRoy Neiman Center, 37 S. Wabash Ave., 1st floor

A panel discussion as part of the exhibition From the Ground Up, which documents the balloon mapping trip of the Calumet River undertaken by students and faculty in Sculpture and Art and Technology Studies in the fall of 2014


Peggy Salazar, Southeast Environmental Task Force
Tom Shepard, Southeast Environmental Task Force
Joy Holowicki, Rising Tide Chicago
Megan Isaacs, Sustainable SAIC
Alix Shaw, MFA Sculpture graduate and participant in the balloon mapping trip
Students and faculty from Experimental Geographies, Site/Installation, and Fundamentals of Art with Technology