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Close To There: Comfort Society: Artist Organizing and Public Architecture

With Lanussi Pasquali, Daniel Saboia, Latham Zearfoss, moderated by Jordan Martins

When artists occupy public buildings, what unique value or idiosyncratic ways of working do they bring that might differ from the formal art programming designed by the municipal agencies that otherwise operate these spaces? How can more surprising, and even uncertain, artistic activities be developed within civic architecture? Salvador, Brazil based artist and curator Lanussi Pasquali will present on her experience with her organization Projeto Ativa, which identifies underutilized publicly-owned buildings and organizes temporary artistic projects within them. Chicago based artist and organizer Latham Zearfoss will present on his experience with programming within the Chicago Park District’s vast network of fieldhouses. Salvador-based artist-architect will join in a discussion with these two artists about how these issues play out in the contexts of Chicago and Salvador’s urban landscapes, moderated by Close to There curator Jordan Martins.

Close to There < > Perto de Lá is an international artist exchange project between Comfort Station (Chicago, USA) and Projeto Ativa (Salvador, Brazil), in collaboration with Harmonipan (Mexico City, Salvador), made possible by the MacArthur Foundation International Connections Fund. By bringing members of these two artistic communities in proximity with one another, this project aims to gestate long-term artistic collaborations between the participants, share arts-organizing models from their respective socio-political-artistic contexts, and encourage creative discourse around ideas such as the African Diaspora and contemporary Latinx/Latin American identities.

The exchange will begin with a multi-disciplinary group of Salvador-based artists visiting Chicago August 9th - 29th 2019, carrying out a variety of programs, performances, and research through Comfort Station and its partner spaces across the city. In February of 2020, a group of Chicago-based artists will in turn visit Salvador to engage with the city’s creative landscape via Projeto Ativa’s network of artists and cultural institutions.

Our institutional partner venues in Chicago include:

The Poetry Foundation
Links Hall
Rebuild Foundation (Stony Island Arts Bank, Dorchester Art + Housing Project)
Spudnik Press
Co Prosperity Sphere
6018 North
Arts Incubator (
University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life initiative)

This project is made possible by the generosity of the MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Fund.

Organized and curated by Jordan Martins, Lanussi Pasquali, and Juci Reis.
Graphic Design by Paco Barba