Chicago Artists Workshop Presents
Susy Bielak & Fred Schmalz: The World Inside This One
Join us for an evening of music, poetry, image, and imagination. In this program, Eighth Blackbird founding members Matthew Duvall and Lisa Kaplan partner with artist/writers Susy Bielak and Fred Schmalz for a brand-new multimedia collaboration.
Equal parts meditation and evocation, The World Inside This One invites us to consider the past, present, and future lives of our homes and the relationships among the objects within them.
The evening includes a new long poem by Bielak and Schmalz, inspired by works of Ceslaw Milosz and Jean Valentine, whose poem inspired the title of this work.
Videos by Bielak and Schmalz present tableaus of domestic daily life and ritualistic acts in home and nature.
The musical score by Duvall and Kaplan—weaving through the entire piece—references works by Aphex Twin, John Cage, Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, and Hiroshi Yoshimura, among others.
About the artists:
Susy Bielak and Fred Schmalz are artists and writers who frequently collaborate with each other, as well as with choreographers, engineers, historians, musicians, and others. Their ongoing collective, Balas & Wax, mines social histories, texts, and archives to create multimedia works that reflect the gravity and strangeness of daily life and contemporary cities.
Critic, poet, and translator Gabriela Jauregi wrote that Balas & Wax’s work expands:
“the practice of artmaking to embrace walks around the city, archival work, music, poetry, monument and anti-monument… often joined by multiple accomplices, who make the urban landscape theirs by questioning what’s there, by excavating what they encounter, thereby effectively transforming the city, rendering it strange (as in the Russian concept of ostranenie, or defamiliarization) through the process of paying attention to the inner lives of certain objects and places.
‘Most people don’t see what’s going on around them. That’s my principal message…For Godssake keep your eyes open. Notice what’s going on around you,’ William Burroughs counsels in The Third Mind. And indeed Balas & Wax elevate this act of noticing the everyday into an art form.”
Balas & Wax’s work has manifested in exhibitions, performances, and publications including EXPO CHICAGO, the Hyde Park Art Center, Lit & Luz Festival, Museo Tamayo, and Poetry Magazine.
Bielak’s work has been collected and exhibited widely, including by the International Print Center, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, and Walker Art Center. Her artwork and writing have been published in Art Papers and New American Paintings, among others. Bielak received her MFA from the University of California San Diego. She is a 2020-21 BOLT artist in residence at Chicago Artists Coalition.
Fred Schmalz’s debut poetry collection, Action in the Orchards (Nightboat Books), responds to encounters with dance, music, and visual art. He was poet-in-residence for the LA Philharmonic’s 2018 FluxConcert in its season-long fluxus festival. His recent writing has appeared in Conduit and Oversound and is forthcoming in The Canary. He currently co-curates the Poetry & Biscuits reading series.