Dreams of a City at 21c Museum Hotel Chicago
A city-wide interactive public art and mapping project by Jenny Lam
September 1 – November 30, 2022
From 2012 to the present day in Chicago, Jenny created thousands of pre-stamped self-addressed postcards, each with the prompt, “Tell me one thing you dream of doing before you die. Use this card as your canvas,” and each with a different code. She leaves these postcards all over the city, using the codes to record where she leaves each one. So, when a card returns to her, she is able to tell where each one was found, and has been gradually piecing together a map of the city from all your dreams. It’s a labor of love, a love letter to the city, and a message of hope.
Dreams of a City is an ongoing interactive art project by multidisciplinary artist Jenny Lam. All guests and visitors to 21c Museum Hotel Chicago are invited to take a card from 21c Front Desk and be a part of this project. Upon completion, postcards can be returned to the Front Desk for collection in the Museum Manager’s mailbox, or sent via any mailbox at any other time.
About the artist
Hailed as a “polymath wave-maker” and “a pioneer of art that is interactive, collaborative, and as much fun for viewers as it is for artists,” Jenny Lam is a self-taught artist, independent curator, and writer. Born in Chicago to Hong Kong immigrants, she graduated from Columbia University in New York City, and she is the founder of Artists on the Lam, which was voted “Best Arts Blog” in the Chicago Reader’s Best of Chicago issue. With a mission to make art accessible and a vision to bring people together, she has independently curated interactive shows like the groundbreaking exhibition I CAN DO THAT, which was voted “Best Exhibit” in NewCity’s Best of Chicago issue. Her art has been exhibited at the Chicago Cultural Center and Chicago Public Library, she is the 1st Prize Winner of the National Park Service’s Centennial Project, and she is a two-time awardee of Chicago DCASE’s Individual Artists Program Grant.
Jenny has curated exhibitions at venues like the renowned Zhou B Art Center and guest judged shows at galleries like Line Dot and Water Street Studios. She has written for Time Out and Sixty Inches from Center and been published in the graphic novel anthology New Frontiers. She has spoken at a Leonardo LASER Talk about resilience, at Facebook Chicago about media representation, at Startup Art Fair about “What Matters,” and on a panel about “Writing in the Margins”; performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art and 20×2 Chicago; and conducted Visiting Artist Workshops at the Chicago Children’s Museum.