Journeys/Migrations & the Document
Journeys/Migrations & the Document was a series of courses I developed over several years with students at Elevarte Community Studio in the Pilsen community of Chicago supported by After School Matters, an apprenticeship style program serving Chicago youth. Students learned about contemporary art-making practices, Artists, and photography by creating subaltern documents. Students; aged 15-18 created individual and collaborative photographic projects responding to both lived and researched experiences that touched on the theme of migration, journeys, violence, isolation, struggle, and their own community’s built and changing environment.
We utilized both basic and advanced photo editing software, while student projects were focused on the importance of collaboration and community building. In both trial and success, every effort was made to create work in partnership with at least one student as project lead/author and a team of collaborators for support. For larger group projects, students defined their roles between one another, pulling from both personal strengths and project needs. Critical to the successful completion of any project was how well student participants worked together, overcame challenges, and communicated their process and ideas with both the larger team of students and the public. This process and artistic practice aided in the production of impactful photographic works from every student. Students maintained a sense of ownership, held leadership roles, supported each other, and ultimately created a sense of community that led them through each exercise and activity.
The artists and Photographers we viewed and studied along the way were essential to the course activity. Looking closely at multi-disciplinary Artists and Photographers whose artistic practices went beyond any one medium or material gave students exposure to the possibilities of art-making and examples of how an Artist with one question can work through their inquiry in various ways. We looked at Artists/Photographers: Kimsooja, Carrie Mae Weems, Dawoud Bey, Collier Schorr, Maria Gaspar, Tomoko Sawada, Paul D’Amato, Mark Bradford, Dolores Salcedo, Kelli Connell, Felix Gonzalez Torres, and many others whose work was relevant to our discussions and aides in furthering student dialogue about their work and ideas.
Anthony Marcos Rea,
2015, 2018, 2022