In Progress Update: Allen Moore and Sadie Woods

As September 9th quickly approaches, we’re pleased to fit one last artist feature on the blog, this time spotlighting Chicago multimedia artists Allen Moore and Sadie Woods. Both natives of the Chicago area, their Ten x Ten collaboration stood apart from the pack with its clear interest in the intersection of personal narrative and Chicago’s history. Enjoy this talk with two of the city’s eminent audiovisual practitioners.

What inspired you both to pursue a collaboration built upon former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington?

Allen Moore (AM): The intrigue was reaching into the past, comparing and contrasting the socio political climate of the 1980’s with that of the present. I feel that Harold Washington was not only the first Black Mayor of Chicago, but was a progressive leader dedicated to education and grass roots empowerment. I think Sadie and I found it astonishing that the 30th anniversary of his passing will seemingly go by quietly and without any visible ceremony.

Sadie Woods (SW): We discussed several tropes on intersectionality and local Chicago culture over a period of time. Eventually, we came to a discussion of arts and culture, the end of Obama's presidency, and thinking of local figures that represented progressive change for marginalized communities. I also live near Mayor Washington's former Hyde Park home where he lived during his tenure, and walk by the Harold Washington Park often, so his legacy has been on my mind a lot during this process.

Can you describe your individual practices and interests, and how those crystallized in the form of more historical, rather than conceptual, outcome collaboratively?

AM: My painting/sound practice is heavily rooted in place and time. I specifically use creative source material from my childhood, which coincides with Mayor Washington’s tenure. During that time, I struggled with my mother being away from home in the hospital, fighting for her life against a rare life threatening disease. I remember the impact of Harold Washington’s death. The conception, in my opinion, is to question the sociopolitical space between then and now. We seemingly were on a positive and progressive path, but in 2017, we struggle with issue of racial injustice and police violence against POC. I’d like to image what could’ve been different if mayor Washington finished his second term. Was his vision abandoned? What would the political climate be in 2017? That is why the title of our piece “Dream Merchant” seems appropriate. I think the positives of Washington’s tenure can be linked all the way to Obama’s presidency.

SW: Much of my work is rooted in research; it is a process I enjoy. Having historical content informs the concept. It is grounded in a lived experience. I was in grammar school during Mayor Washington's tenure and was impacted when learning of his passing. Through this process, I've also been thinking about the progressive politics he fought for: economic growth, neighborhood development, affordable housing, and democratic school governance. I have also given thought to how much has changed (or not changed) over the past 30 years. This fall commemorates the 30th anniversary of his second term, when he passed away in office.

What About Chicago’s History specifically interests you?

AM: I’m from the village of Robbins, a small black town a few miles south of Chicago.
I was always enamored with city; it’s size and specifically the migration between the city and the suburbs.

SW: It's my hometown! Chicago over everything.

Allen Moore is a Black American visual and experimental sound artist born and raised in the small village of Robbins IL, just south of Chicago. Allen has a Bachelors of Arts from Chicago State University, a Masters in Arts fro Governors State University and a Masters of Fine Arts from Northern Illinois University. His work converses with the signifiers of African American culture and popular culture; bringing to view the underlying themes of racial, emotional and socio-economical, conditions.

Chicago native Sadie Woods has held DJ residencies throughout Chicago for over a decade and performed for art institutions and tastemakers alike. Her practice includes sound art and design, deejay performance, exhibition making, and collaborations within communities of difference. She's been a participant of Ecole du Magain’s International Curatorial Program and editor of “Harald Seemann Individual Methodology” project; resident artist of the Hyde Park Art Center Program; Resident Artist at ACRE; Artist-In-Residence at Nichols Tower Homan Square; Sponsored Artist at High Concept Labs; Resident Curator of Chicago Artists Coalition's HATCH Projects; and Collaborator of Independent Curators International Dakar Intensive. Sadie is the recipient of the Bemis Center for the Arts Artist Residency; sound designer for Brujos Web Series; Curator-In-Residence at Art + Public Life Arts Incubator with La Keisha Leek; Resident Curator for Terrain-HATCH Projects; resident DJ at Boleo at The Kimpton Gray Hotel; and Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.