Alternate Assembly 2021

EXPO CHICAGO presented Alternate Assembly: Environmental Impact in the Era of Pandemic, a digital proxy for rigorous in-person discourse over three days (January 21–23, 2021) in the form of an engaging hybrid online event. This amalgamation, hosted on the exposition’s newly launched microsite ( featured a series of scheduled programs with leading curators, artists, and scholars to address how ideas in contemporary art can contribute to rethinking our environment within the era of pandemic.

Approaching the dual theme of environmental impact, as both a natural ecology and constructed institutional space, Alternate Assembly interrogated the future of our (art)world landscape. In response to our current moment, the thematic of this public program centered on artists and theorists that challenged us to think differently about our environment—from projects that explored water rights, to theories on viruses and virality, as well as notions of sustainable societies, and the multi-layered impacts felt from environmental racism.

As a complement to these live-streaming conversations, hosted on the Alternate Assembly microsite, select film screenings by leading contemporary artists were shown, illustrating the new ways of thinking that artists have proposed about our environment, ranging from the poetic to the activist. Concentrating on these issues explored by contemporary artists alongside museum and non-profit leadership and art criticism published in THE SEEN, this program called upon EXPO CHICAGO’s commitment to the necessary discourse across commercial and non-commercial sectors in support of ongoing inquiry.

Alternate Assembly: Environmental Impact in the Era of Pandemic was presented in collaboration with the Malmö Art Museum and the exhibition Sustainable Societies for the Future.