Select, Lumpen magazine, and Public Media Institute produce this annual festival, now in its fourth year, focusing on art, media, technology, and politics, with an emphasis on work generated by underground and activist communities. This year's festival runs through Sunday, May 1, and includes neighborhood walks, workshops on urban gardening and exterior decoration, and numerous public art installations, film/video screenings, lectures, and musical and other performances. The events are scattered mostly through the Wicker Park and Bridgeport neighborhoods. Some participating venues include Heaven Gallery (1550 N. Milwaukee), Buddy and Highschool (1542 N. Milwaukee), Open End Gallery (2000 W. Fulton), Rodan (1530 N. Milwaukee), Skylark (2149 S. Halsted), Spare Room (2416 W. North), Zhou B. Center (1029 W. 35th St.), and Texas Ballroom and Diamonds on Archer (3012 S. Archer). Events are free, except as noted below. A Version pass ($25) allows admission to all screenings and events. The festival also includes the NFO Expo (April 30-May 1), a series of talks, workshops, and exhibits intended as a "trade show for experimental artists, info agitators, and organizers of cultural interference" and a "radical alternative" to other art fairs. Below is a schedule of selected festival events. For updates and additional information, visit www.versionfest.org, or call 773-837-0145.
The Corporate Calavera Project
Matt Jenkins created this "series of tactical performances," implemented in corporate environments in memory of the hundreds of female maquiladora workers killed in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Chicago Trade Building, 141 W. Jackson. a Noon.
Monument for Donatella Versace
Andreas Templin's piece adopts Versace-like elements with the intention of "commenting on the idioms of pre-manufactured lifestyle-concepts based on the example of Donatella Versace." Grant Park's Butler Field, Lake Shore Drive and Monroe. a 6:30-9 PM.
Short works by the Volatile Works media arts collective of Montreal, ranging "from found footage to animation, from scratch video to experimental horror." Buddy. a 9 PM.
Mattin, Tim Barnes, and DJ Rotten Milk
Rodan. a 10:30 PM.
Ania Greiner's project involves "an insect/human/robot creature" that roams through the crowds, collecting surveillance footage. Zhou B. Center. a 6-7 PM.
Lost Film Festival
Short works focusing on pranks against corporations and government institutions. Zhou B. Center. a 8 PM. $5.
Community of the Future Art Walk
A walking tour of some of the galleries and cultural spaces in the growing Bridgeport art scene. Locations include MN Gallery (3524 S. Halsted), Salhus Studio (3215 S. Morgan), Martin Soto (1029 W. 35th St.), and Zhou B. Center. a 6-11 PM.
J+J+J, Far Rad, Everyone Mutates, Atari Star, Lost Robot, DJ Grady, and DJ Benn Flashbulb
Bands and DJs perform as part of an afterevent for the "Community of the Future Art Walk." Texas Ballroom and Diamonds on Archer. a 10:30 PM. $10.
Buoyant sculpture and homemade watercraft invade the Chicago River turning basin. Chicago River at North Avenue. a Noon.
Princess, Total Gym, and Kazumoto Endo
The three musical/performance groups perform for this party capping off the first day of the NFO Expo and Conference (see box). Zhou B. Center. a 10 PM. $10.
Unstorming Sheridan/May Day
This 30-mile bike ride commemorates the 1886 Haymarket tragedy by following a route from the site of the massacre to Fort Sheridan, built in response to the Haymarket demonstration. Sarah Kanouse organizes this event, which culminates with a potluck picnic lunch. The ride begins at the Haymarket Memorial, Randolph and Desplaines. a 11 AM. Contact email@example.com for more information.
See listing for Thu 4/28. Also screening on this program: Allard Klok's 25-minute documentary We Are Here to Stay, about a squatters' complex in the Netherlands that was turned into a political culture center. Zhou B. Center. a 6 PM.
Small Bathroom Fire, DJ Logan Bay, and others perform. Skylark. a 10 PM.
Art collective Red76 presents individual artists' work surreptitiously placed in public spaces. Locations are passed along by word of mouth, as well as various other forms of low-key announcement. Ongoing Thu-Sun, Buckingham Fountain and various bookstores in Chicago (visit www.red76.com for more info).
Neighborhood Public Radio
The San Francisco-based microbroadcasters transmit local and national FM radio programs from various locations during the festival.
Version>05 Kunsthalle and NFO Expo
Includes performances, screenings, and a conference (see box). Kunsthalle is open Fri 4/29, 6-10 PM, in conjunction with the Bridgeport art walk; those exhibitors are joined by 60 or 70 others Sat-Sun 4/30-5/1, noon-8 PM, for NFO Expo. Zhou B. Center. $5-$10; includes admission to NFO Expo Conference.
Robert Ladislas Derr blends into the downtown business-lunch crowd while surreptitiously videotaping; the results of this "peripatetic performance" will be screened during the NFO Expo.
NFO Expo Conference
In conjunction with the Version>05 Kunsthalle exhibit and the NFO Expo of new work and installations, the festival offers a two-day conference on "experimental art and radical communication." The events on Saturday, April 30, include a presentation and workshop on low-power neighborhood public radio; a workshop by Scott Rogers on ANI (automatic number identification) spoofing (providing a fake phone number and street address to telecom networks when placing calls); a presentation by Lumpen magazine contributor and activist Diamond Jack on sustainable living in urban environments; a performance/presentation by Erika Mikkalo, or "MK3," on her personal "rebranding" project from "scary poetess with day job at law firm" to a more salable commodity; a panel on alternative art spaces; and a presentation of work by Digital Disobedients, "a DVD/magazine of net art and new media." Among the events on Sunday, May 1, are "If All Else Fails, Try Fairy Tales," which examines leftist proposals for "secession and exodus" in the wake of the Kerry defeat; films by Volatile Shorts and Allard Klok (see Sunday listing); and a program on strategies for creative urban reuse--recycling, urban gardening, foraging--led by Marshall Preheim of the Open End Gallery and garden designer-urban ecologist Nance Klehm. Zhou B. Center. $5-$10; includes admission to Version>05 Kunsthalle and NFO Expo.