recoveries: Chicago Trails

Range Mobile Lab’s (RML) recoveries: Chicago Trails explores the role of persistent infrastructure as a means of understanding difficult histories. RML re-traces the location of historic trails used for centuries by indigenous people. We travel across sections of the ancient Lake Street and Green Bay trail routes as we link the Chicago Cultural Center to Navy Pier. By following these trail maps in the modern environment, we remember and essentially protest the erasure of Native Americans’ histories that took place right in the heart of our bustling city. As the RML travels along this route, it captures, live-remixes, and projects the resulting video on screens set in the side windows of the truck. Thus the RML creates a new imagined map that makes visible these inherent indigenous histories. 

recoveries: Chicago Trails was performed on September 17th and 19th, 2019 as a partner program of the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial and EXPO Chicago. 

Range Mobile Lab is a field research platform for the exploration of the design, habitation and underlying economies of public and social space. Projects are situated at the intersection of media, architecture, performance, and placemaking. Through the use of media interventions, the Range Mobile Lab seeks to shape place and social contexts. Designed for a multiple year series of activities, Range Mobile Lab uses a 1995 GMC step van to collect, process and present works that engage people along the routes they travel and where they gather. As an active, mobile intervention into lived architectural space, range presents viewers with a shift toward a more enriched, layered experience of public space. The truck is both an essential sculptural object and a performer that maps pathways through defined neighborhoods, between institutions, and tracing histories to draw connections between habitation, infrastructure, and institution.


RML is a Partner Project of the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial and EXPO Chicago.

Chicago Architecture Biennial Partner Program



Native American routes: the ancient trails hidden in Chicago’s grid system
Tanner Howard, The Guardian. Thu 17, Jan 2019