HOLD, flowerbox memorial installed at North Brach Projects, 3550 W. Lawrence Av on August 26, 2012 as a collective project from a workshop from the Home Knowledge Spectacular, curated by Alberto Aguillar and Jorge Lucero. The flowerbox was designed with Millicent Bradleigh, Regin Igloria, Mike Scott Rudnick, Hilesh Patel and Moki Tantoco.
043006 (for Michael Piazza)
This memorial is a grouping of succulents, placed in a hand-made wooden box built for the piece. There is a vintage tire gauge attached in memory of Michael and my many road trips which served as wonderful moments to talk about our work, what lay ahead and our kids. It is expected to be installed at the Columbus Park field house in 2012.
I have been building small hand crafted wooden construction pieces that operate functionally with simple use on the surface. In this case, a flowerbox. But when the usefulness ends like the plants in the box, the interior contains elements and srprises in keeping with the person memorialized. This attached piece is a memorial to my dear friend and co-conspirator, artist Michael Piazza, filled with succulents, plants that protect themselves and remain open, plants in my eyes that best represent Michael in my mind. On the face, a stenciled date of his death, an area painted with color. On the front is lashed an old tire gauge that has personal meaning to me from our long road trips together and highway disabilities. It is a momento. The interior has a copy of ‘Soul on Ice’ by Eldridge Cleaver under the removable plant tray, hidden from sight. Soul on Ice was a favorite work of Michaels and an element to a piece he created in the mid 1990s that he gave me after his Beret Exhibit. The exterior is heavily coated for outdoor use and Columbus Park was a idea for a public installation. The memorials stand in as useful containers, vessels that have a chance at a second life, a wish in a way.
The memorials began years ago (1991) as I decided to return to the houses I once lived in as an exploration of certain memories. Well the memories I had. I wanted to see if there was some connection to the site since I find myself so very spacial. My memory of the houses are indelible. Each of the houses were in Chicago and I quietly gathered scrap wood from around each former home to craft a trunk I would use as a performance and installation. The trunk, which resembled a small steamer, marked a close to some nagging questions I had about this imagined time and the mythologicalized characters in my family. It served to settle my sense of scale. These recent memorials are marking as they probably always have, the time to quiet down from the accelerations and reflect on folks I miss or think about. I leave them in my basement, backyard and around the city.
Two views of a piece called ‘Return to the Houses I Lived In’ which continued as search for self awareness. I walked looking for something through this project and the one that preceeded it, called ‘Houses I Lived in”. I was unsure of what I would find out or if I was looking to get something answered or pose some question of my own. The above work was a large wooden trunk built from scrap wood from the property of the Chicago houses I lived in from 1958-1992. In the installation the truck is ajar as audio is coming from the trunk from an active microphone I wore and recorded as I knocked on the doors on each house I spent some time in. The truck sits on a black rubber welcome mat and the porch light sits off to the side hanging from a single cord.
“I dislike children’s games, particularly pinatas because it is so violent” (For Real Richard, the Real Retard: 1968)
pinata-palooza, CoProsperity Sphere / Organized by Dayton Castleman
March 17, 2012
Jim Duignan will convene a drawing and planting workshop around his flower box memorials. The construction will combine text, soil, plantings (succulents), paint and repurposed lumber as a small, discreet public marker to invisible Chicago history. The participants will be able to build a collective flower box and draw on the local lore of Albany Park.
sketch for musical instrument
Hip Hop Not War
Stockyard Institute + University of Hip Hop
(left) Jim Duignan with Rosie Presti and Tanya Nellemann Poulsen and Grete Aargaard from Danish Collective rum46 in Aarhus, Denmark making zines at the Stockyard Institute workshop at the University of Hip Hop event in Lawndale in 2010. (right) Statik and Duignan talk about the mammoth elephant Statik painted at the Stockyard Institute space at 4721 S. Damen in the mid 1990s. (bottom) A detail of Statik’s installed piece at the Lawndale conference, a remarkable piece. June 9th at 3333 W. Arthington, Murphy Hill Gallery. (below) event poster.
iKatun in Boston
Dada Manifesto Reading
I sent a favorite manifesto (Dada Manifesto) to iKatun in Boston for their Manifesto Slam on Inauguration Day for Barack Obama on 1/20/09. The project as I saw it was part declaration part celebration and equally a hope that greater participation opens up a conversation on experimentations, freedoms and democracy. Sasha is reading it from the green bus (pictured) as it travels through the city.
50 flags for a New May Day
public memorial for Michael Piazza
This piece was created on the evening of April 30, 2008. “50 flags for a New May Day” (memorial to Michael Piazza) in the garden area in front of the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago. The small bright orange utility flags, an element orchestrated well through a wide range of Michael’s work. Works that can be seen in pieces that define and demarcate historical paths, territories and sites of investigation. This piece was placed into the ground by two dozen area teachers, Keith Brown and Jim Duignan after a short ceremony to honor the anniversary of his death.
Homage to Joseph Beuys
Twinkies in a Valise
Songs for the Ponytail Snackshop
CD / Experimental Sound Studio
Recorded at the Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago.
Family Installation in Chicago
wood, Plexiglas, chain, wheels, photograph
The rolling sandwich board was designed for Mobile Sign Systems, the Temporary Services project at their Milwaukee Avenue space. The piece was executed as both sign and memorial, a marker to a silent Chicago murder down the street from TS’s Milwaukee exhibition space. The sandwich board included a large reproduction from a wedding photograph of James Duignan who was murdered in 1958. On the reverse was a poem I wrote called ‘The History of Truck Driving’. The piece represented the conflicts of settling in to a still and productive life. A life that remained ill-tempered to responsibility to himself and others through my eyes. My understanding of the events that led to his demise were far removed from the actual experience of being present. I wasn’t in his life as he was in mine. I was born the same year of the murder and given his name as a memorial to what I could only hope were aspects of his life I was never made aware of. He had a reputation that was based on deficiencies. Family lore retreated from open accounts of his exploits. His life was invisible. His history was in my eyes about looking, wondering, bohemia and wandering. This history is my history. A history I knew well, wandering and self destruction. I could only imagine we shared enough similarities that I could confidently fill in pieces of his life. This marker is a notice to self institution and a point in my work when memory became content. We walk by history of excruciating failures on the streets of this city. The endings change or rather shift their vantage point as the stories are constructed through families that will always remain an uneducated mechanism for raising personalities.
Jim Duignan on 4th floor of the Formfit Bra and Girdle Factory, 1989. 400 S. Peoria
photo by Mary