2015 - Walk In Our Shoes




Victory Garden Exhibition at Papermaker's Garden, Columbia College Chicago. Terrain Biennial 2015




During the Hellenistic period, people in the sex trade would often wear shoes with the words “follow me” embossed on the soles. As they walked the dusty streets the shoes would leave a print behind. This discreet marketing technique afforded them a medium to convey a message to a clientele that was better educated.

The South Loop area of Chicago was once the epicenter of the sex trade in the city. Its proximity to the Loop, some industrial areas, transportation, and distance to the neighborhoods made it an ideal location for the trade to flourish.

During WW I, and WW II, food production, and distribution was refocused to help with the war efforts. To compensate for the loss in farm labor, and reduce the pressure on food distribution there were campaigns to promote hyper-local food production. Aptly called, Victory Gardens, they were also a way to keep everyone engaged in the war effort, and feel empowered.

Contemporary food production, and corporate farming heavily relies on single-crop farming. This approach, though efficient in the short run, is posing new challenges to the environment. It diminishes bio-diversity, and the tips the scales of delicate eco-systems, damaging to both the environment, and food production in the long run.

The Papermaker's Garden, located at Columbia College Chicago's campus, is a delightful example of how we can counter some of the food, and environmental challenges we are facing today. Located in a middle of the dense urban neighborhood, South Loop, on a piece of land that was land-banked, it provides a powerful example for food, and raw material (for paper) production that is hyper-local. It inspires us to look at our own surroundings to see how we can do our own share in reducing the pressures on the environment.

For the Terrain Biennial at the Papermaker's Garden, I made an interactive piece that consists of pair of crude shoes with words "Walk In Our Shoes" embossed on the bottoms of them using upholstery nails. These shoes affords the participants to strap them over their regular street shoes. Once strapped on, the viewers walks down a path made from sand that is poured over the ground gravel. #walkInOurShoesToday