The Barack Obama Presidential Library asks the question: How complex can a history be and who gets to write the stories that make up that history? Contributions to The Barack Obama Presidential Library were gathered from mid-May to August, 2015. Members of the general public were invited to propose answers to the above question by completing the assignment under this video. The BOPL received over 200 submissions and every submission was accompanied by a personally authored educational placard. The Barack Obama Presidential Library was exhibited at the Hyde Park Free Theatre (aka the Southside Hub of Production) under the collaborative direction of Laura Shaeffer. This video about the BOPL was produced by WTTW's nightly newsmagazine Chicago Tonight. It aired on June 11, 2015. In addition to this television coverage, the BOPL received media coverage from the Sun-Times, Gapers Block, DNA-Info, and the Illinois New Bureau.
Here's what participants had to do:
1. Contributors made/sent any simulated artifact, document, artifact, readymade, or artwork they wished to see displayed in The Barack Obama Presidential Library.
2. Each contributor was also invited to write the accompanying educational placard(s) for their contributions. Every participant in this project was fully credited for their work and their contribution to this collective "construction" unless they wished to remain anonymous.
3. Contributions had to be made as quickly and cheaply as possible, while still communicating a potential reality. The accompanying descriptive placard played a big role in how the artifacts were viewed.
4. The Barack Obama Presidential Library aimed to have a radical and inclusive conversation around how history is constructed, remembered, and subsequently deployed. Southside Hub of Production is a community forum and space actively seeking to expand democratic conviviality, while exercising a true critical pedagogy.
5. Contributors did not need to be artists to contribute to The Barack Obama Presidential Library. Teachers and students were encouraged to participate in the Barack Obama Presidential Library as a means to generate reflective discourse around the current presidency, as well as the role and the politics of Presidential Libraries in general. Public school teachers were especially invited to participate with their students and to download our FREE "The Barack Obama Presidential Library Prescribed Curriculum". In May, 2015, Jorge Lucero was invited by Alice Costas and Patricia Guizzetti (art teachers at Chicago Public School's Walter Payton College Prep ) to work with student participants on the project. They contributed forcefully to THE BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY!
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