DePaul Art Museum > Exhibitions > Industry of the Ordinary: Tourist/Refugee

Industry of the Ordinary: Tourist/Refugee

​August 9 – August 23, 2018

Chicago-based artists Industry of the Ordinary (Adam Brooks and Mathew Wilson) have created interventions into daily life through sculpture, text, photography, video and performance for the last 15 years. Their practice is centered on transforming public perception of everyday life while challenging audience conceptions around normalcy and exceptionalism. Responding to urgent political and social concerns, Industry of the Ordinary presented Tourist/Refugee and Genuflect, two projects that consider current issues around immigration.

Tourist/Refugee (2018) is a neon installation by Industry of the Ordinary (IOTO) installed in the museum’s 2nd-floor window facing the Fullerton CTA platform. In this work, the artists address the implications of foreign policy on the movement of people across borders. The words “tourist” and “refugee” flash alternately. Tourist/Refugee addresses how value judgments are made that dictate how, when, and where certain groups of people can travel. IOTO draw attention to the humanitarian responsibility of providing aid for refugees, and through the flashing neon illustrate the contrast between travel for pleasure vs. travel related to human rights. Tourist/Refugee speaks to the paradox that often those who need to travel the most are restricted, while those traveling for leisure are easily permitted.

On Indigenous People’s Day, which is also Columbus Day, Monday, October 8, 2018, Industry of the Ordinary held a silent vigil and remembrance for the many thousands of displaced people who have recently tried, and often failed, to find safe harbor. Titled Genuflect, this public performance began at Saint Vincent de Paul Church; the artists inflated a life raft inside of the church and then lead a procession east to Lake Michigan.