GRAND CROSSING — Artist Theaster Gates on Wednesday unveiled a new art piece planned for the 95th Street Red Line Station that will include a DJ booth and a wall of fire hoses stitched together.
Gates said at the unveiling of the concept at the Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island Ave., that he was trying to come up with something that satisfied the community’s demands for a work that looked both back and forward in time.
“We wanted a place where black people’s stories could be told alongside music,” Gates said.
Gates said he envisions the space almost as a “lo-fi” radio station where an in-house DJ mixes together music like Earth, Wind and Fire with the stories of the city’s South and West sides recorded by documentarians, public radio stations and others.
The idea will be paired with a wall of old fire hoses that have been stitched together as a reminder of the fire hoses authorities often turned on civil rights protesters.
“The civil rights struggle was real and real for a lot of the people who rode the CTA,” Gates said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the works by Gates will mark the final completion of the Red Line modernization project when the new 95th Street Red Line terminal opens in 2018.
“It will put a period to say the Red Line is done,” Emanuel said.
The fire hose tapestries, named “america america” will go in the new south terminal building and the DJ booth, called AESOP (An Extended Song of Our People), will be located in the north terminal.
Gates said he plans to hire and train people from the surrounding community to both build the booth and assemble the tapestries.
Gates project is the last of nine art pieces commissioned for Red Line stations in 2013.