The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Review: Works in Progress Festival


Works In Progress FestivalThe Works-in-Progress Festival, hosted by Public Space One, featured a wide variety of artists in different mediums to enhance the necessary but often forgotten part of art: the process. I signed up to take Polaroid pictures of the show to highlight the event as it went on. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.

The event started with the anthology at PSZ on Thursday, October 18. Before the show started, various installations entertained the guests. Chelsea Cox sat behind a curtain as patrons slid a signed index card towards her. She then used an old-fashioned typewriter to return a fortune to the guest. You could hear the click-click-clack as it was happening, which I thought it was pretty cool. Although cryptic and humorous, the fortunes provided insight and a great conversation starter among people. I went by myself and talked to many strangers about my message about buttons.

The show was interesting and diverse. Poems by the University of Iowa Writer Workshop’s MFA students consisted of the first half. A performance that stuck in my mind was of a man with a typewriter. Before the show he wrote stanzas on a hundred index cards. He asked an audience member to cut the deck and he shuffled them. He read the cards in the shuffled order: that was the poem. Other acts that highlighted the progress were a music group each singing or playing to a separate metronome in their headphones and also a woman who simply ate a steak. The diversity was amazing. I was thoroughly entertained.

The festival continued over the weekend as well. The artist panel on Saturday was amazing. My favorite art program was Planned Obsolescence. Tibi Chichela talked about how computers and other technologies are meant to be replaced soon and took apart his own used electronics to make a wall of prints. He then encouraged the audience to take one of the prints home: whatever was left was the artwork.

Over the weekend I was exposed to so many different mediums and ideas. I never gave much thought to the process of art as I view and enjoy work.  The weekend brought together local and international artists to showcase the process of what they love. Many products were not finished yet—such as a woman’s weekly tracing of a plant from the fall to winter solstice.  I loved the insight to different works. This show was definitely refreshing.