Emmanuel Pratt

2017–2018 Interpreter in Residence

Emmanuel Pratt’s interdisciplinary approach to regenerative placemaking on the South Side of Chicago mixes art, architecture, and community and economic development.

As 2017–2018 Interpreter in Residence, Pratt hosts a series of intimate dinners across Chicago beginning in Radical [Re]Constructions, his site-specific Threshold installation at the Smart Museum. Each dinner features nutritious, locally grown food from Sweet Water Foundation and examines a different theme connected to Radical [Re]Constructions: housing, work, health, and education. The interdisciplinary series convenes a curated group of diverse individuals around a common table, from the team at Sweet Water Foundation to artists, scholars, practitioners, and civic and community leaders.

Pratt and the Sweet Water team will also work with the Smart to organize larger scale programs including a fall Harvest Celebration, a talk produced in partnership with the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and UChicago Arts, and other events.

We seek to create the platform to uncover, unleash, capture, and share the voices of the community that we know are abundant with solutions capable of creating sustained and transformational change. Amidst one reality of abandonment, exclusion, urban ‘blight’ or disintegration, community members will be empowered, to re-envision both personhood and place, and travel from fragmentation to possibility and wholeness within self and community.

—Emmanuel Pratt, on the origins of Radical [Re]Constructions.

Public Programs

Harvest Celebration
Saturday, September 23

Perry Ave. Commons, 5749 S. Perry Avenue

The Radical [Re]constructions event series will kick off with a public Harvest Celebration at the Perry Ave Commons. The celebration features the raising of the Thought Barn, a swing beam barn made from reclaimed materials that will be raised by hand in a communal activity. Plus, live music, tours, art projects, and hands-on harvesting, cooking, and carpentry demonstrations. 
FREE, and open to all. Food and drink available for purchase. Advance registration required

We the Publics: Meals in the Commons
Thursday, October 19, 7 pm

We the Publics is a manifesto and proposition for the 28th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. Authored by Emmanuel Pratt and Dan Borelli, Director of Exhibitions at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD), it rethinks the role, power, and purpose of the public in shaping and influencing the spatial evolution of the built environment. It proposes a series of common rights for all people, which are currently denied to many, and common responsibilities for our collective good, which are ignored by others. We the Publics began as an exhibition at GSD and will now take the form of a migratory dinner series unfolding across multiple sites in Chicago. Hosted by Sweet Water Foundation and the Smart Museum, the meals will convene artists, agriculturalists, cultural workers, activists, academics, and others to actualize the essential rights outlined in the manifesto. The first meal in the series takes place within Pratt's installation at the Smart, Radical [Re]Constructions
FREE, but space is very limited. Advance registration is required. Registration opens October 2. 

Arts & Innovation Series
Shaping Shifting Publics with Emmanuel Pratt and Dan Borelli
Monday, November 13, 2017, 6 pm 
Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 1452 E 53rd Street

This talk will unpack how two different creative practices work within their localities and how they came to collaborate on a discourse around the urgency for defining ‘Publics’. The Chicago-based practitioner Emmanuel Pratt will guide us through the evolution of the Sweet Water Foundation’s ongoing work with ecologies in a broad sense—human, social, vegetable, and economic. Dan Borelli, a Boston-based practitioner, will give us an overview of his project in Ashland, Massachusetts that addresses the contested histories of a contaminated community and it’s Superfund site. Emmanuel and Dan will share their collaboration at the Harvard University Graduate School Design entitled We The Publics, an open call to define publics today, creating a discursive archive, and thereby reestablishing truth in democracy.  
Part of a series presented by the Logan Center for the Arts and Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. This session is co-presented by the Smart Museum.

Stories on Race in the Classroom
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 4:30–6 pm

Which pedagogical strategies can be used to address race in the classroom? What are the dynamics that arise when considering race alongside ‘traditional’ academic roles (student, teacher, student-teacher)? Join the Race and Pedagogy Working Group at the Smart Museum of Art for an evening of stories on race in the classroom. Inspired by 2017–2018 Interpreter in Residence Emmanuel Pratt’s methods of regenerative placemaking, this event will encourage participants to think through the effects of the physical space of the classroom on group dynamics. By including various backgrounds and perspectives from people at different points in their academic trajectories, the aim of the panel is to search for both common anxieties and successful strategies shared by students and teachers, bearing in mind the development of a more holistic anti-racist pedagogy.
Presented in collaboration with the Race and Pedagogy Working Group at the University of Chicago.

About Emmanuel Pratt

Emmanuel Pratt is co-founder and Executive Director of the Sweet Water Foundation and founding member of axilL3C. Pratt earned his BArch from Cornell University, his MSAUD (Masters in Science of Architecture and Urban Design) from Columbia University, and is presently a doctoral candidate in the PhD program of Urban Planning also from Columbia University. He is also the Director of Aquaponics for Chicago State University and teaches courses within the college of Arts and Sciences.

About the Interpreter in Residence program

Established in 2013, the Interpreter in Residence is a yearlong program designed as a forum for Chicago-based artists and educators with an interest in social engagement to create participatory art experiences with Smart Museum guests.

The residency, organized by the Smart’s Public Practice department, is informed by art and ideas drawn from the Smart’s collections and exhibitions as well as issues and questions that are critical to the Museum’s institutional practice. The Smart invites artists to participate in the program who approach similar sets of questions in their work. We hope that their engagement at the Museum offers an opportunity for sustained investigation into these questions that benefit both their and our practice.

Through public programs and other ephemeral activities, the interpreters in residence help create a critical commons where we can engage with art, ideas, and one another.