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Wednesday, December 13

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« Interactive Art at the 2008 Ravinia Festival Architectural Digest Accolades »

Art Thu Aug 14 2008

Pink: A (Love) Courier Service

Walking by St. Paul's Cultural Center on North Avenue, it's hard not to notice the steady stream of bike messengers decked out in brilliantly pink attire flowing in and out of the cathedral basement. Ducking in, a voice booms out from the back:

"WELCOME TO PINK! ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH OUR SERVICES?"

Created by Austin artist Jaclyn Pryor, Pink: A (Love) Courier Service is a community-based, interactive art installation that encourages Chicagoans to share their love with one another through hand typed, hand delivered love letters delivered around Chicago by an army of pedaling volunteers.

"I wanted to create something that engaged people in an unexpected way," says Pryor, who first began the service as a public art project in 2006. "People go to museums and decide they want to see this or that, and it's very one-sided. I wanted to get people involved without their knowing it, as well as to encourage communication and expression."

The expressions are loud and clear: participants sending off their love letters hook their messages up to a revolving clothesline and, with the aid of a jumpsuited "Lovefactory" worker, scream out "LOVE ON THE LINE!" as their typed letter is sent down to be bottled, bowed and biked out to its lucky recipient.

The 85 volunteers who keep Pink running work in full view of the visitors, hand sewing tags and mapping out routes as the Lovefactory churns along. "I wanted people to see the process behind the product," says Pryor, who is known as Heffi McHefferson while on duty. Core members work about five days a week, though residing at the Cultural Center can make it difficult for factory workers to remove themselves from the environment. "We checked out sixty poetry books from the Chicago Public Library," says Pryor, "but now there are only fifty-seven...we really needed to get ourselves some movies."

"It's pink everywhere, always," says messenger Tuesday, nee Emily Jantzen, part of the core Austin group working and living at the Lovefactory. "I love it, though. I've gotten some interesting reactions from people, going out in my jumpsuit trying to find local businesses willing to support us. Riding in elevators in these outfits has been particularly fun. Chicago's been pretty receptive to us, though. It's been great."

With only one day left before the Lovefactory closes up shop, Pink was still taking on volunteers, training newbie Untitled 2008 (Whitney) at 5:00pm on Thursday afternoon. "They found me at the farmer's market in Logan Square," she says, pulling on a hot pink vest and smiling for her courier headshot. "All I could think was, oh, I want to do this."

Pink: A (Love) Courier Service will be open from 11am - 10pm tomorrow, after which it will close its doors to Chicago - but not before a massive potluck dinner, to which any and all are invited. Bring a dish, open your heart and share the love as fast as you can - Pink is here to help you put your love on the line.

Pink is stationed at the St. Paul's Cultural Center, 2215 W North Ave. Hours at 11am - 10pm. Potluck dinner will take place on Friday, August 15th. Bring a dish, share the love.

 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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