100 Actions for Chicago Torture Justice

100 Actions for Chicago Torture Justice

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Author: Lucky Pierre 

Publisher: Temporary Services (2012)

For this booklet—the 97th publication produced by Temporary Services—we decided to work with some long-respected peers: the Chicago-based collaborative group Lucky Pierre. Lucky Pierre was founded in 1996 by Michael Thomas and Mary Zerkel as a collaborative group working in writing, performance, and visual forms. Lucky Pierre creates structures for open forms of engagement with various publics. In these forms, we explore complex issues and ideas (political, aesthetic, social) in ways that accommodate a wide range of experience, styles and approaches. The open structure allows collaborators and viewers to define their own participation; helping to create the meaning, and determine the final form and outcome of the work.

This booklet is part of Lucky Pierre's contribution to The Chicago Torture Justice Memorials Project. That project describes itself as follows: "The Chicago Torture Justice Memorials Project invites artists and justice seekers to submit proposals for a speculative monument to memorialize the Chicago police torture cases. Our goal is to honor the survivors of torture, their family members and the African American communities affected by the torture. The monument will also recall and honor the nearly two-decades long struggle for justice waged by torture survivors and their families, attorneys, community organizers, and people from every neighborhood and walk of life in Chicago."

When we read Lucky Pierre's list of Actions for Chicago Torture Justice on their website, we got goosebumps. The group took one of the darkest chapters in Chicago's history—there were over 110 victims, all African American men, tortured by John Burge and others in the Chicago Police Department—and turned these atrocities into a list of actions that is constantly shifting its tone and energy: poignant and moving, furiously angry, solemn, poetic, abstract or at least a little mysterious, and even darkly comical. We wanted to see this text as a thing in the world—an object that could circulate, get sent in the mail, change hands, be shared with students, be left on the seat of a bus, and could endure as a printed record of response to what happened in Chicago. We wasted no time in inviting Lucky Pierre to let us publish this as a booklet and in a little over a month, the publication rolled off the press. The booklet includes the first 100 actions written by the group. The project is also a call for participation and welcomes the reader to submit additional actions.