The Chicago Humanities Festival is announcing its first ever year-long theme and declaring 2018: The Year of Graphic! Beginning in March and running through late November, CHF will focus its programming on the premise that our world has become increasingly visual in a way that is fundamentally changing how we experience, engage, and even think about the world.
Graphic! will also survey some of the more extreme expressions within visual culture: the graphic language, violence, sexuality, and political discourse that are increasingly the norms across media, entertainment, and civic dialogue. The theme will be explored in greater detail during CHF’s Spring (April 28-29) and Fall (October 27-November 11) Festivals.
On March 22, CHF will inaugurate Graphic! with a program exploring the intersection of art, technology and social change in the visual age through the work of two acclaimed artist activists, #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors and MacArthur Fellow and photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier. The event will be hosted by Deana Haggag, president and CEO of United States Artists, an organization that supports the essential role of artists in society.
The Year of Graphic! will explore the pleasures, perils and overall impact of new visual forms and processes, from data visualization to design thinking, mobile screens to binge watching.
“It feels like the right time to take stock of our rapidly evolving visual world. In pretty short order we’ve all gotten used to writing in emojis rather than words, sharing selfies, or watching the news and streaming series on our phones,” says Marilynn Thoma Artistic Director Alison Cuddy. “But beyond entertainment, visual forms are redefining how we make art, do business, cover major events, and make sense of the mountains of data and information we now produce. The impact of all this on our individual brains and shared culture deserves a sustained look.”
“The Chicago Humanities Festival has always brought together the most compelling authors, artists and thinkers to consider themes that reflect the zeitgeist of the moment. With an entire year dedicated to the notion of Graphic!, our curators have the opportunity to explore the full depth of a theme that becomes more compelling by the day,” noted CHF Executive Director Phillip Bahar.
The full line-up for the Spring iteration of 2018: Graphic! will be announced at the March 22 launch program.