The Service Project: Winfield Mounds
The Service Project involved a series of performances in which I serve tennis balls at Winfield Mounds Forest Preserve for an extended period of time (usually 1-2 hours). Winfield Mounds is an ancient Native American burial ground, somewhat lost in the Western Chicago suburbs. You can find out more of the history of the mounds here.
I love tennis. I played tennis competitively as a junior, and still enjoy playing tennis today. Hitting tennis balls is so much a part of my muscle memory that it is practically in my DNA. But I also recognize it is a sport fraught with tension: it is primarily seen as an "elitist" sport, played mostly by the upper classes. As such it is a sport which calls in question the distribution and use of resources: environmental, economic, and temporal (in this way it is not unlike art).
By hitting serves at the mounds, I hoped to find a way to personally connect with the spaces, to call attention to them, and to acknowledge the tension related to their history through ritualistic action.
The pun in the project title is intentional. To me, this project asks fundamental questions about the nature of art: What is the nature and purpose of art? Does art serve a purpose? Can art be service? It is my hope that the work is paradoxical, perhaps even ironic, without being cynical.
Excerpts from performances of The Service Project. These are shortened clips. Each performance runs 20-30 minutes.
The Service Project:Spring. Winfield Mounds. Winfield, Illinois. March 2012
The Service Project:Summer. Winfield Mounds. Winfield, Illinois. March 2012. Cinematography by Joonhee Park.
The Service Project. Winfield Mounds. Winfield, Illinois. February 2012
The Service Project: Fall. Winfield Mounds. Winfield, Illinois. October 2011