MCA’s WORD WEEKEND: Saturday – Sunday, July 26 – 27, 2014

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Photo by Joshua Longbrake, © MCA Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago presents Word Weekend, a two-day event of experimental activities, collaborative art making, and ‘live literature’ experiences exploring the role of words and language in contemporary art and culture in Chicago. This all-ages event is comprised of over 25 collaborations with the local literary and artist community and includes artist interventions, creative workshops, screenings, readings, and performances. Projects occur throughout the museum on Saturday, July 26, from noon to 10:30 pm and Sunday, July 27, from noon to 5 pm. Participants are encouraged to use #WordWeekend to share photos and thoughts with @mcachicago on Twitter and Instagram. The menu of programs follows, with timed schedules available at the event.

Artist Interventions

From Downtown (We Got This) | Jeff and Matt Austin

This interactive basketball installation invites visitors to shoot crumpled pieces of paper stating “I Got This” into a hoop, accumulating discarded paper throughout the weekend. (Saturday andSunday)

Office Hours | The Perch

Artist Matt Austin installs his wood-paneled office in the MCA’s atrium and invites writers published in his small press, The Perch, to carve into the office wall. (Saturday and Sunday)

Written by Trees | Lyndsey French

Artist Lyndsey French reads aloud to a group of small trees, each equipped with a vibration sensor that generates poetry, and transcribes the poems onto paper embedded with seeds. (Saturday and Sunday)

Mies Choir | Jesse Malmed

Artist Jesse Malmed turns text into song with an assembled choir that is open to all. (Saturday)

Creative Workshops 

No-Pressure Pressure Prints Spudnik Press

Spudnik Press Cooperative brings a 1940s Line-o-Scribe proofing press to the MCA for visitors to create their own prints using ink, letterforms, stencils, and flat objects. (Saturday)

The Mobile Mill | Jillian Bruschera

Jillian Bruschera brings her traveling paper studio, The Mobile Mill, to Word Weekend for a papermaking workshop run out of a specially-equipped car. (Saturday)

Zine Workshop | Mairead Case

Visitors can create their own zines in this workshop led by artist Mairead Case. (Saturday) 

Graffiti Institute | Miguel Aguilar

Chicago street artist Miguel Aguilar leads visitors in an interactive graffiti workshop. (Saturday)


Visitors share their own stories in this nationally-known oral history project. (Saturday)

Hip Hop Workshop | Psalm One

Artist and educator Psalm One leads visitors in a participatory hip hop workshop. (Sunday) 

Happenings and Performance 

Small Press Book Fair | Printers’ Ball

Printers’ Ball presents a selection of books and ephemera from local small presses for visitors to browse and purchase while mingling with publishers and writers. (Saturday and Sunday)

Swear/Word | The Dil Pickle Club

Pocket Guide to Hell leads a reenactment of the Dil Pickle Club, a legendary public forum, playhouse, and bohemian nightspot from Chicago’s jazz age. Following a parade performance at4:30 pm by Environmental Encroachment, visitors are invited to walk through a fabrication of the original Dil Pickle Club doorway and listen to an array of eclectic performers and speakers.(Saturday)

Fake Shore Drive

Chicago’s premiere hip hop website Fake Shore Drive presents a program featuring The Boy Illinois, Psalm One, Saint Millie, and a performance by Joey Purp. Some mature content.(Saturday evening)

Words and Body: Body and Music: Music and Words

Visitors can play this hot-potato-inspired game with musicians and literary figures Tim Kinsella, Marvin Tate, Leroy Bach, Melina Ausikaitis, Devin King, and Bryan Saner. (Sunday)

Live Literature, Readings, and Dialogues

BiblioTreka | Read/Write Library

The Read/Write Library brings its portable library, the BiblioTreka bicycle, from Humboldt Park to the MCA. (Saturday and Sunday)

The Yolo Pages | Boost House         

The Yolo Pages, an anthology of 21st-century poetry and alternative literature, presents a twitter and online poetry forum featuring live tweets of Word Weekend-inspired poems. (Saturday)


Dead Languages | The Encyclopedia Show

The Encyclopedia Show performs a live literature reading on the theme of dead languages.(Saturday)


Welcome to the Neighborhood | 1,001 Chicago Afternoons and Anthology of Chicago

Two literary collectives curate a reading of stories about Chicago’s neighborhoods. (Saturday)


The Human Activity of Political Rhetoric | Daniel Tucker

Artist and activist Daniel Tucker presents a talk on political rhetoric and speech writing.


Experimental Poetry Reading | Cassandra Troyan and Johannes Göransson

The Poetry Foundation’s Harriet Reading Series presents a multimedia drama in verse by poets Troyan and Göransson. (Saturday)

Write Club

The Write Club visits the MCA with its acclaimed competitive reading series. (Saturday)

Homeroom: Racist Jokes 101 #OwnYourWords

Homeroom visits the MCA to present a comedy art show about words used to talk about race featuring social media activist Suey Park, comedians Jessica O’Neal and Tim Barnes, and filmmaker Nick Twemlow. Some mature content. (Saturday at 9 pm)


This is Modern Art | Steppenwolf Theatre

Steppenwolf for Young Adults presents a reading of the play This is Modern Art, written by Idris Goodwin and Louder than a Bomb founder Kevin Coval. The play follows a group of Chicago graffiti artists who become embroiled in a public debate about the purpose of art. (Sunday)

Experimental Poetry Reading | Red Rover Series

Red Rover offers a “reading that plays with readings” throughout the galleries. (Sunday)


Experimental Film Screenings | Curated by Patrick Friel

Patrick Friel curates a range of experimental films exploring words, type, and language.(Saturday)

Three Musketeers (1921) Movie Screening | Movies in the Park

Visitors can enjoy an outdoor evening screening in the MCA’s sculpture garden of the silent filmThree Musketeers (1921). The film begins at 8:30 pm, with a running time of 120 minutes.(Saturday)