Thursday, June 08, 2017

the chicago cryptozoological society

When I was a junior in high school, I was charged with the task of writing a paper for my American Government class, and me being me, I, of course, chose not the legislative branches or the the amendments or judicial system, but, UFOS.  That is, American Government and its responses to UFO's from the 1950s on up.  It was great fun doing the research--which in those days meant not merely hopping on a laptop but instead tracking down every volume on UFO's in my high school library and at the Cherry Valley Public. One of those latter books contained a small section on Mothman lore  (a West Virginia cryptid from the 1960's mostly)  As someone who was just learning to drive on dark country roads at night, I was a little spooked., but merely added it to a long list of things I was learning to fear roadside--Resurrection Mary, random ghosts, hitchhikers, suicidal deer. 

Later, in college and beyond,  I heard about, but did not see the adaptations of the Mothman Prophecies book, but being a lover of all things cryptozoological, I would occasionally see mentions and it made my 16 year old self gleefully happy (probably the same teenager who for a while was convinced jackalopes were real because no had told me they weren't). Fast forward to a couple weeks back when someone on FB posted a weird news outlet siting of flying, winged, humanoids right here in Chicago--near the lakefront to boot.  It prompted a lot of library googling on the part of me and my AofR cohort Jennifer Sauzer, but then we saw this map and an idea was born.

Back in the spring, during our HOAX! week artist panel, the subject of documentation came up--how objects can create worlds and exert authority within those worlds. Particularly vintage sorts of media--VHS tapes, newsprint, old photos. (see Jess Weal's work from the show below)..  Further, I felt how amazingly interesting this was as I worked on the murder mystery documentation--police reports, newspaper clippings, yearbook photos. . For a subject like cryptozoology, which is steeped in pseudoscience and folklore and hoaxes in the best way. it seemed entirely possible that you could tap into that world and create something really awesome--a mixing of all things--part art project, part social experiment, part resource that could manifest in multiple ways--a blog, art pieces, public installations, folklore creation and documentation.   So we purchased a domain and designed a logo and took it from there. 

Image may contain: indoor

We've  started with some cryptozoological conjecture on the mothman story and some cool articles and legit resources (because of course, with any amount of shenanigans, you need some respectability alongside to lend things credence).  We are also hoping to open a fun little shop component to sell things like t-shorts and prints of some crypto related work to buy art supplies keep the project rolling...we also hope to bring on some other writers and artists to play with us. 

No comments: