Pasts and Fututes of South Side Chicago

How does structural violence affect the health of an individual, neighborhood, city?

How do we cultivate healthier communities?

Structural violence describes how social, economic, and political climates disenfranchise entire populations of people. Looking to Chicago, we see how community resources have become increasingly unequal in the last 75 years. The South Side has the city’s highest rates of school dropout, obesity, commuting times, drug arrests, and incarceration. Across neighborhoods — from Woodlawn to Englewood — young people have borne the brunt of these harms. These projects consult the past, examine the present, and imagine the potential futures of medical, social, and mental health in these communities. A future that centers care, understands the impact of accountability and access.

Black children cool off with water as they play and piggy back ride each other art Woodlawn Community, Chicago, Illinois, 1973. Image courtesy John White/ US National Archives. Image courtesy National Archives.

1995 racial disparities of blackout
Image Collage, 2017

Images form the basis of this historical collage, which examines the impact of structural violence on the health and wellbeing of three fictional characters: Alex, Keisha, and Jennifer who lived in Hyde Park during the 1995 heat wave. This natural disaster became a social tragedy when it took the lives of over 700 Chicagoans. Photos explore themes such as housing inequity, homelessness among teens, interpersonal violence caused by structural oppression, and teen pregnancy. The piece counters those violences with images that connote joy and community as means of survival and resistance within communities of color.

Youth Artists: Yousef Lagundoye, Araceli Magaña, Meredith Okwuedei, Jennifer Rubio, Kaya Thomas

BLUi, Chicago, 2038
Speculative object, 2018

BLUi is a speculative prototype of a health drone that could deliver medication, treatments, and care across a segregated Chicago. Watch the mockumentary the artists made to accompany it.

Youth Artists: Omar Olugbala and Miriam Lagundoye

Community Healing Pair, Chicago, 2038
Speculative object, 2018

Community Healing Pair is a prototype of augmented reality accessories that record police activity and activate community resources in a bottom-up fashion. Watch the mockumentary the artists made to accompany it.

Youth Artists: Asha Edwards and David Bonsu

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