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Site Unseen

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When installations and performances inhabit a public space, they often gain from the street-theater component: watching people encounter the art becomes part of the show. That should happen with at least two pieces in "Site Unseen," the city's evening of site-specific work at the Chicago Cultural Center. M.W. Burns's sound installation, Distractions, just outside the Randolph Street entrance, might make a passerby think he has a hole in his pocket or look around for a clumsy busboy. Adam Simon's audio tour of the Garland Meeting Room and Education Center is also potentially amusing to bystanders: some of the 27 recorded tracks (played on iPod shuffles, so no two listeners will hear the same thing at the same time) ask the plugged-in person to point around the space or peer at a milk carton. Unlike these works, Robert Metrick and John Ploof's piece in the first-floor store uses performers--three of them pretending to be clerks, puttering about dusting and straightening while singing a dirgelike song whose lyrics are projected on a nearby wall. A surreal piece about menial labor and souvenirs, this may well stop people in their tracks. The 11 works also include Asimina Chremos and Kairol Rosenthal's En Masse in GAR Hall and Dolores Wilber's Heads or Tails in Preston Bradley Hall; see the listing for the complete lineup. Wed 11/16, 6-9 PM (guided tours leave the Randolph Cafe every half hour from 6-8:30 PM). Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630 or TTY 312-744-2947. Free.

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