Austin McCann

Art form(s): Writing & Performance

CAPE Teaching Artist since 2021

MFA 2021, University of Illinois at Chicago

Austin McCann lives in Chicago. He writes, makes artworks, stages situations, and works as a teaching artist. He has exhibited with Apparatus Projects, Terrain Exhibitions, Gallery 400, Co-Prosperity Sphere, Blue Mountain Center, and Flatland Chicago. From 2012-2017, he directed the Art Theater, an experimental community cinema in Urbana-Champaign. He has an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and teaches youth & adults through Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education. He is currently a graduate clinical student at the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice at the University of Chicago.

Artist Statement:
“My work usually begins, and often ends, as writing. A sentence seems like a miracle to me. It also appears impossible and insane. The sentence ends with the period, one of humanity’s most hubristic inventions. Period. Writing means producing a reading experience for another. It is a durational art form, the text, like moving image. Because one thing has to come after another, and that sequence cannot be disrupted as long as time’s arrow flows unidirectionally (in our common cognition). Words accumulate in a text. Then they accumulate, surreptitiously, in the reader’s mind. A sentence is an experiment in form and argument. It manifests visually and, when read aloud, acoustically. Many writers are strangely ignorant of their works’ acoustic manifestations, unlike the bards. Our reading experience is now private, thoroughly bourgeois, and the visual form of the words are registered through light where they are interpreted by and for the brain. Yet the acoustic dimension of reading, so undervalued, provides another manifestation of the text, one that resonates in bodies and structures, one where hidden meanings that connect to pleasure, nonsense, even politics, are given center-stage.