Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Listening to Mitchell: a sneak preview


A seven-block long stretch of Mitchell Street from the Modjeska theater to St. Stanislaus is the setting for an interactive, multidisciplinary art and sound project by Sonja Thomsen and Adam Carr. The same duo brought “Here, Mothers, Are” to a north side neighborhood in 2012. This project promises to build on their earlier success. Listening to Mitchell officially opens Friday, July 11 with a ceremonial unveiling of the audio installation. However the visual components have been appearing along the street since June.

Sadly, I will be unable to attend the opening ceremony. But I’ve enjoyed seeing the work go up and I’ve taken a few photos to provide a sneak preview. I must admit that on my first pass along the street I missed many of the installed pieces because they blend in so completely with the milieu of advertising and commercial graphics that occur as a matter of course.

Here is what the artists have to say about the work:

“Photographs of souvenirs uncovered during the research process become artifacts of place, reflect experience of time, and represent the street’s tangled cultural identity.
The installed images, ranging in scale from twenty foot murals on building exteriors to five-inch photographs on checkout counters, foreground the commercial corridor’s
ever-present personal narratives.”

Once I got the hang of the nature of the installations and the graphic aesthetic it was like a scavenger hunt to wander down the street and pick them out.

This is another excerpt from the artists’ press release:

“There is no other place in Milwaukee like Mitchell Street. In the most densely populated area of the city, the street has remained one of Milwaukee’s most animated and diverse corridors. From its commercial heyday in the 1950s to its eclectic present, this mainstreet has been home to countless stories of grand commercial success and decline as successive waves of immigrants made their way on the street.”

Listening to Mitchell runs through September. For much more information check the website. Art City also ran a preview in May. 

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