Art Seen: Chicago

HARDCORE ARCHITECTURE

By Thea Liberty Nichols

Hardcore Architecture, organized by Marc Fischer of the collaborative Public Collectors, demystifies the punk rock rite of passage of stuffing money and stamps in an envelope and hoping for the best.

In an ongoing project begun in 2014, Fischer has been combing through Maximum RocknRoll (MRR) back issues from 1982–89, looking for home addresses that band members lived at (typically with their parents) or ran independent record labels out of. Using a combination of Google Street View and real estate websites, he screen captures images of the homes, feeding them to a web archive, related print publications, and the projects inaugural exhibition, fittingly featured at The Franklin, one of Chicago’s many vital apartment galleries.

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Hardcore Architecture, Image Courtesy of The Franklin, 2015.

Public Collector’s mission is to preserve things mainstream institutions overlook or render inaccessible. Hardcore Architecture ups the ante by showcasing the cultural production happening both inside and outside of big cities with equal care and attention, which painstakingly assembled images of suburban homes in Albuquerque, Boise, Peoria, Roanoke and Lexington attest to.

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Hardcore Architecture, Image Courtesy of The Franklin, 2015.

The project represents an impressive aggregate of data mining, but the problem with demystifying mail order addresses in the first place is that the resultant images are often mute, benign, or unrelated domestic spaces. The air of nostalgia permeating the project is furthered by the fact that it wouldn’t even exist if hardcore wasn’t actually something that could be researched in a public library’s full print run of MRR.

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Hardcore Architecture, Image Courtesy of The Franklin, 2015.

Bill Daniel’s seething live concert photography of the early 80’s Austin scene, and a fanzine-inspired interview over twenty-five years in the making conducted by Fischer with Les Evans of Cryptic Slaughter pumps some of hardcore’s immediacy and enthusiasm back into the exhibition itself. Ultimately, as Daniel and Fischer prove, Hardcore Architecture is a testament to a musical genre so compelling it inspired its audience to become artists in their own right— and what greater compliment is there after that?



Hardcore Architecture at The Franklin ran from August 8–29, 2015.

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