Chasing Billy Caldwell

Part biography of an obscure early Chicago settler, part meditation on history and memory, identity and loyalty, landscape and amnesia.


Select Screenings

Ann Arbor, MI – The Gallery Project

San Francisco, CA – San Francisco Art Institute

New York, NY – Barnard College, WCA Video Shorts Festival

Carbondale, IL – Southern Illinois University


Sarah Kanouse, “Chasing Billy Caldwell,” HDV video, 7 min 44 sec, 2006

ISP Bloomington

ISP Bloomington was a site-specific transmission performance for the campus of Indiana University meditating on the relationships between education, incarceration, and speech.


Carbondale, IL – University Museum, “Combined Faculty Exhibition”

Bloomington, IN – Indiana University SOFA Gallery, “Perform.Media”


Kanouse, Sarah, “ISP Bloomington,” 2006


UnStorming Sheridan

UnStorming Sheridan consists of two bicycle rides commemorating the lives and afterlives of the Haymarket Martyrs.

On November 12, the day after both Veteran’s Day and the 117th anniversary of the Haymarket executions, I traced a route by bicycle from the new Haymarket memorial to Fort Sheridan, broadcasting a mournful and distorted “Internationale” at 4 watts all the way there, my signal growing stronger the farther from ClearChannel’s downtown antennas I traveled. I wish there was some elegant conceptual reason why my homage to the labor martyrs missed them by a day, but there isn’t. On November 11, I had to be at work.

The following May Day, three group bicycle rides in Chicago commemorated the events that made May Day a holiday in most countries, though not in the one in which they took place. The longest, the 27-mile ‘Unstorming Sheridan’ ride, connected the events of the Haymarket tragedy to the militarized repression of radical activism represented by Fort Sheridan, which was built in the year after Haymarket to permanently house Federal troops to ‘deal with’ any labor unrest. In 1894, the troops stormed Chicago to suppress the Pullman strike, following a route roughly similar to that which we reversed on bicycle.

See UnStorming Sheridan website in html and Flash (deprecated, may not display in your browser)



Chicago, IL – Zhou B Art Center, “Version 05″

Online – Ausgang, (December 2004-March 2005)


Kanouse, Sarah, Unstorming Sheridan, microradio commemorative performance and group event documented via video and web

Other Projects

While somewhat outside (but sometimes anticipating) my core interest in landscape and spatial politics, the projects documented here represent other facets of my work. In particular, these pieces demonstrate my longstanding interests in radical pedagogy, grassroots and DIY communications, and the power and constraints of public speech.

A Call to Farms

A Call to Farms Cover

“A Call to Farms” is a sixty-page, self-published pamphlet reflecting on the first summer drift of what would soon be called Compass, a loose collaboration of artists and writers investigating the histories and futures of resistant culture in what we call the Midwest Radical Culture Corridor. I edited the pamphlet and coordinated its design and printing as well as contributing the introduction and concluding chapter.


Kanouse, Sarah et al. “A Call to Farms: Continental Drift Through the Midwest Radical Culture Corridor”. Viroqua, WI: The Heavy Duty Press, 2008, 1 and 43-50.


Download as PDF: A Call to Farms

Voices of America

Voices of America Screenshot

“Voices of America” was a web platform to promote and facilitate the remixing of coverage of the American elections generated by the government-funded Voice of America radio network. It was designed to allow international participants to ‘speak back’ to the historic, if still spectacle-driven, 2008 election and to give Americans access to this peculiar governmental self-presentation. The project culminated in an election day listening party. The website,, is no longer live, but a screenshot is posted here.


Kanouse, Sarah and Lee Azzarello, “Voices of America,” 2008.


Solar Micropower Transmitter Network


Proposal for a distributed network of solar microbroadcasting transmitters. Each unit can be made for less than $50 and  is designed to flood the airwaves of the immediate area with homegrown music, voices, noise, and sound. It is powered by a rechargeable battery and solar panel and housed in an ordinary circuit box to be mounted outside and left to its own devices for days or weeks at a time. Possible applications include covert political speech, alternative historical or environmental education stations, and direct public participation in the electromagnetic spectrum. Deploying a network of these low-cost transmitters around a neighborhood or a city opens up many practical and symbolic possibilities.

Download as PDF: Micropower Zine


Sarah Kanouse, “Solar Micropower Transmitter Network,” 2007

The Public Square


While microphones record museum murmurings in a square claimed as public, people gather to make public what before was merely space.

For the three-week duration of the MFA exhibition at the Krannert Art Museum, in Champaign, IL, participatory events occured daily in roaming public spaces around the city. Museum viewers become speakers by using microphones to rupture the spectatorship, privilege, and permanence of the public museum, and spectators become discussants by joining or questioning the gatherings. The sounds from each location are relayed to the other space to contrast the implicit or explicit limits on engagement established by those who monitor, manage, and control.

The Public Square website


Sarah Kanouse, “The Public Square,” microradio broadcasts, webstream, installation, and website, 2004