in collaboration with www.reshelter.org, Borderbend Arts Collective and Defibrillator Gallery, Chicago
A public service announcement...
Millions of people worldwide are suffering from environmental illness and sickened by low levels of chemicals present in everyday life that most of the population never even notices.
Subsequently many of them cannot live in traditional housing and lack workable alternatives. Many are homeless or living in makeshift housing. They find themselves living permanently in tents, sheds, stripped down trailers or in their cars.
In summer of 2011, while living temporarily in rural Arizona in an effort to escape the crop dusting in Illinois, I initiated a research project and collected advice from people who had become adept at car living.
The audio track for this piece represents a cumulative list of tips and serves as a "survival manual" of sorts. Simple gestures that are required to meet basic human needs become effortful, if not impossible, tasks when confronted with having to live in a confined space meant for basic transportation. The performance consists of many simple things one might do in an evening at home: eat, check phone message, exercise, wash out lingerie, etc.
Because of my own environmental illness, I am unable to stay in any kind of lodging and camp with a tent while making the annual trip west. I've noticed more and more over the years the patrons at campgrounds seem to be living in these recreational sites permanently. Each morning a large percentage of campers get up and go to work. Though homeless is a deepening issue the true scope of it remains largely invisible.