Society of Smallness
The Society of Smallness emerged from a need to carve out a creative space, no matter how small, amidst personal loss and the demands of a full-time job. The idea grew from an insignificant event in the fall of 2012. As I shared lunch with a friend in the Sculpture Garden at the Art Institute of Chicago, bird poop landed in the purlicue of my right hand (the space between the thumb and index finger). I took this as a sign to pay attention to small, seemingly insignificant events. The Society of Smallness grew out of this practice.
Over time, the Society of Smallness evolved into a collective of diverse members of all ages and backgrounds. We have organized miniature exhibitions; programmed Clutch Gallery, a 25-square-inch exhibition space within artist Meg Duguid's purse; and facilitated the open soapbox at the Newberry Library's Annual Bughouse Square Debates among other activities.
Mini-Exhibitiothon I consisted of ten tiny shows in five hours. The event served as an inaugural event for the Society of Smallness. The ten shows featured visual, sound, and video art and took place in a steel object (a.k.a. NBP) which was on loan to the SOS from the Logan Arts Center as part of its exhibition “Would you like to participate in an artistic experience?” by Ricardo Basbaum.
Hair and String by Fred Lonberg-Holm
The sound of a strand of hair on a cello string captured on the artist's iPod.
Enacting The Post by Jessica Hyatt
Reminders the artist wrote to herself as part of her job as coordinator of school tours at a major museum.
Let's Play Canicas by Alex Mendez
A game that started out with instructions but soon evolved into joyful anarchy.
"Small things build and you know what happens next: the cicadas are sucking root juice, the humming bird winters in the tropics, the mole is naked, and emergency sewing kits go unused."
—The Society of Smallness's Minifesto
Building on the underachievements of Mini-Exhibitiothon I, The Society of Smallness humbly presented Mini-Exhibitiothon II: the Duchess Credenza Arts District. Located throughout the nooks and crannies of our Chicago home, the district comprised a smidgen of up and coming, thimble-sized visual art venues and fledgling research bureaus. In addition to incredible art in impossibly small places, Mini-exhibitiothon II featured cartographers, a nature guide, and not one, but two pseudo Napoleonic scholars. Twelve hours of events ran from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Many people have contributed to this project; this is a partial list: Kevin L. Burrows (aka the Mayor of Bucktown), Lissette Bustamante, Will Clinger, Paul Durica, Marcos Herrera, Jessica Hyatt, Marianne Joyce, Allison Kelly, Henry Harris, Bill Kirby (aka Captain Chicago), Patrick McGee, Jeff Michalski, Chris Molina, Annie Morse, Daniela Perez, Kat Seno, Andrea Torres, Matt Stone, and Bettina Valverde.