The Museum of Unnatural history Chicago (MUnCh) invites you to an exploration of colonial botany through a series of lectures, interventions, and prepared objects. The MUnCh exists as a pseudo-structure; the traveling lectures of expertise our lecturer presents refer to an imaginary site that contains real but often intangible constructs. The work plays with the persona of lecturer and docent to challenge the museum format and presents objects that are loaded with alternate histories. This stage of the project will also incorporate performative interventions on the currently existing lectures to expand the physical scope of the work.
This Fall, full filling is on the MUnCh menu, in which different fruits are examined across their cultural histories. There are four components to full filling: “apples to oranges,” “orange you glad,” “peach your heart out,” and “pumpkin pick an ick.” MUnCh wants to take audiences on a fruity journey, traveling around the world to discuss how these different fruits are emblematic of cultural influences stemming from colonialism and nationalism, such as myth-making, expressions of desire, and the food-coded nature of gender and race. Throughout Fall 2017, individual works-in-progress showings of full filling will occur, leading up to a culminating performance in December 2017.
The Museum of Unnatural history Chicago developed from a fascination with folk stories and mythology that was inflicting itself on my writing. Writing about myth in the form of fairy tales and fables has been part of my work for the past five years. I have adapted fairy tales and folk stories into poetry and fractured narratives, using persona and voice to explore contemporary responses of characters ranging from Pinocchio and Sleeping Beauty to William Tell and St. Sebastian. I augment this writing by doing research into associated topics.
I continue to do extensive research into academic writing on fairy tales, mythology, and contemporary vignettes as well as cultural studies to better represent the cultures from which the stories are adapted, and to glean more insight as to how these “unnatural” depictions can be influential on our identities.
My work on the Museum of Unnatural history Chicago and its associated topics has benefitted most from the public interactions I have had through its various presentations. I feel performance’s ability to be present with its audience offers a chance to use presentation as research as much as culmination, so letting each iteration inform the next has been a wonderful thing to encounter and from which to develop my practice.
Kevin Sparrow is a writer, performer, and curator of live and time-based work. They utilize text to create performances, performance to create text, and both forms to create responses that provoke inquiry and participation. Kevin has been involved in solo and group performance work in local venues including DANK Haus, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Northwestern University, the Art Institute of Chicago; nationally in New York, Denver, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh; and internationally in Wellington, New Zealand. They are also Co-Coordinator with the writing and performance salon group HI typ/O and Literary Manager for the theatre company Nothing Without a Company in addition to their independent research projects. They served as Production Manager for the IN>TIME Performance Festival in Winter 2016 and Assistant Director of the Out of Site Performance Series in Summer 2015.