Following the closing of the Randolph Street Gallery in 1998, Chicago was left without a dedicated performance space. In 2010, largely frustrated with the city, Joseph Ravens stumbled upon the space that would become DEFIBRILLATOR. Raven’s opened Defibrillator as a place performance art could call home in Chicago, but even further, as a vessel though which the public could be exposed to performance art. A number of the performances take place outside of the physical constraints of the gallery. These public interventions hold a great deal of weight for Ravens, whose vision for Defibrillator is being perpetuated forward with more speed daily.
Despite having been open for, at this point, two years, Defibrillator has successfully made itself known as the cities hub for performance based work. Defibrillator hosts an annual performance festival under the name Rapid Pulse, which brings in artists from around the world. This reinvigoration od performance art in Chicago is especially important to Chicago being considered and respected as a real player in the art world.
Workshops and artist lectures also find a home here. Ultimately, public engagement and discourse are at the core of these projects. Ravens is leading a movement to give access and interest to the public sphere for a meaningful interaction with performance based work.