Adrian Blackwell, Anarchitectural Library (against the erasure of Chicago’s common spaces), 2019. Photo courtesy of Chicago Architecture Biennial / Kendall McCaugherty.
Associate Professor Adrian Blackwell’s Anarchitectural Library (against the erasure of Chicago’s common spaces) was commissioned by the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial: …and other such stories curated by Yesomi Umolu, Sepake Angiama and Paolo Tavares and is installed in the Chicago Cultural Center until January 5, 2020. The project addresses the Cultural Center’s history as the city’s first public library, an institution conceived in part as a space to “civilize” an unruly population of immigrants, workers, socialists, and anarchists. Whereas the original library responded to the specific struggles of the late nineteenth century by pacifying political demands, Anarchitectural Library gives voice to contemporary organizations fighting to keep alive spaces that produce and maintain urban life and collectivity. The library houses printed publications submitted by Chicago-based activists, organizers, and researchers whose work resists public housing destruction, school closures, loss of industry, environmental degradation, and mass incarceration. The public is invited to peruse and discuss its contents.