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My name is Gary Zidek. Welcome to The Arts Section. Tune into the radio program every Sunday morning on WDCB 90.9 & 90.7 FM or listen to it online here. I'll be showcasing a variety of arts & entertainment, as well as.highlighting some creative ideas.

Archive Celebrates Goat Island's Legacy

Archive Celebrates Goat Island's Legacy

WDCB’s Gary Zidek talks to the curators behind the new Goat Island Archive on display at the Chicago Cultural Center.

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“Goat Island comes out of a way of thinking about performance, which is not necessarily based in theatrically. But based in the idea that performance can engage an audience through a kind of visual poetry, it’s often seen as a visual art form, which is performance, which is not theatre, it’s not quite dance either.” - Curator Nicholas Lowe describing the Chicago-based performance group Goat Island.

Goat Island Archive curator Nicholas Lowe and Sarah Skaggs looking at one of the Goat Island Archive displays

Goat Island Archive curator Nicholas Lowe and Sarah Skaggs looking at one of the Goat Island Archive displays

An archive, that’s part exhibit and part performance series, is shining a light on a Chicago-based ensemble that influenced artists all over the world. The performance group known as Goat Island only made and performed 9 pieces during its 23-year history from 1986 to 2009.  But the ripple effects of the company’s work are still being felt today.

Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is presenting goat island archive – we have discovered the performance by making it .

Promo photo of Goat Island. Lin Hixson, Timothy Mc Cain, Greg McCain, Matthew Goulish, photo credit: Tony, 1988. Goat Island Archive, Library and Special Collections, The School of The Art Institute of Chicago.

Promo photo of Goat Island. Lin Hixson, Timothy Mc Cain, Greg McCain, Matthew Goulish, photo credit: Tony, 1988. Goat Island Archive, Library and Special Collections, The School of The Art Institute of Chicago.

Defying traditional models of how performing arts organizations operate, Lin Hixon, Matthew Goulish, Greg McCain and Timothy McCain formed Goat Island in 1986. The DCASE archive celebrates the group’s commitment to performance.

The origins of Goat Island project goes back a few years. But it’s realization in 2019 dovetails perfectly into the city’s Year of Chicago Theatre campaign.

John Rich, DCASE dance & theater coordinator and co-curator of Goat Island Archive

John Rich, DCASE dance & theater coordinator and co-curator of Goat Island Archive

“The performers dance, in the sense that there is choreography to movement, but the movement might be very ordinary. And it’s created in a long progression or sequence of movements, it can be energetic, it can be slow. There’s a lot of meaningful use of props, all of which really come from a long process of research and exploring curiosity. So, in many ways it’s a visualization of a long process of asking questions and attempting to find answers.” - DCASE’s John Rich describing a Goat Island performance.

One component of DCASE’s Goat Island project is a performance series that includes nine theaters artists and performance groups from all over the world responding to Goat Island’s nine existing works.

DCASE transformed the Chicago Cultural Center’s Sidney R. Yates Gallery into a re-imagined version of Goat Island’s rehearsal space, which was a Lincoln Park-based church gym.

A look at the Sidney R. Yates Gallery which has been made to feel like Goat Island’s Lincoln Park-based church gym rehearsal space.

A look at the Sidney R. Yates Gallery which has been made to feel like Goat Island’s Lincoln Park-based church gym rehearsal space.

A look at the Sidney R. Yates Gallery which has been made to feel like Goat Island’s Lincoln Park-based church gym rehearsal space.

A look at the Sidney R. Yates Gallery which has been made to feel like Goat Island’s Lincoln Park-based church gym rehearsal space.

Over the next 3 months, invited theater artists & groups will rehearse and present their original Goat Island response works in the re-created church gym space.

The Germany based team of hancock & kelly kicked off the performance series with its world premiere, Jackie Kennedy Flees the Scene of Her Husband’s Murder, which was a response to Goat Island’s first piece Soldier, Child, Tortured Man (1986).

Traci Kelly and Richard Hancock rehearsing JACKIE KENNEDY FLEES THE SCENE OF HER HUSBAND’S MURDER at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Traci Kelly and Richard Hancock rehearsing JACKIE KENNEDY FLEES THE SCENE OF HER HUSBAND’S MURDER at the Chicago Cultural Center.

The next response performance will take place Friday–Saturday, April 12–13, 7pm, and Sunday, April 14, 2pm in the Yates Gallery. U.K.-based Augusto Corrieri will present the world premiere Play to delete.

You can find a complete schedule of upcoming Goat Island response performances here.

In addition to the performances, visitors can view physical items from the performance group’s 23 year history.  A rotating collection of drawings, scores, photos, costumes and videos will be on display in the adjacent Exhibit Hall.

You can find more information about goat island archive–we have discovered the performance by making it here.

Members of Goat Island. Image courtesy of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

Members of Goat Island. Image courtesy of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

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