When 18 Sep 2019 - 29 Dec 2019
Where Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago
5550 S. Greenwood Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
Enquiry 773.702.0200

In his first U.S. museum exhibition, Samson Young premieres a trilogy of animated music videos that explores varying concepts of social progress and utopia.

Loosely taking the idealism displayed at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair as a point of departure, this multimedia exhibition asks how people adapt to societal changes that they have little control over. For Young, “progress” as it was defined in the 1933 fair’s subtitle “A Century of Progress” represents a specific variant of aspirational thinking that was exported around the globe in the decades that followed. Through careful processing and manipulation of images, sound, and space, Young considers the promotion of utopian dreams while dwelling on the various ways in which cars, shopping malls, and model homes like the House of Tomorrow and Armco-Ferro House are embedded with ideas of social progress and personal freedom.

The exhibition is the culmination of a year-long research project undertaken by the artist that commenced during a residency co-sponsored by the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum and Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society. The exhibition showcases a trilogy of animated music videos—The Highway is Like a Lion’s MouthDa Da Company, and the new Houses of Tomorrow—that Young describes as a “song cycle.” Additionally, the exhibition includes archival materials related to the 1933 World’s Fair and “sound drawings” and 3D-printed sculptures by the artist.

Image: Samson Young, Photograph from the production of Houses of Tomorrow, 2019, Video and sound installation, 20 min. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo by Jonathan Loïc Rogers.

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