Defibrillator Gallery has new performance home, moving from East Village to Noble Square


Joseph Ravens

Just before the stroke of midnight on Halloween, Joseph Ravens, the founder and Executive Director of DEFIBRILLATOR (dfb) Performance Art Gallery signed a lease for  their new space at 1463 W. Chicago Ave., former office for Alderman Walter Burnett, 17th Ward. The need for re-location was not anticipated. 

Having invested around $20,000 into their 1136 N. Milwaukee Ave. space since 2010, with the approval of the landlord, and having been asked by the landlord whether he was going to renew, Ravens presumed his affirmative response meant he was getting a new lease.  He began booking acts for the rest of the year and into 2015.

When the landlord then told him that he would not renew his lease, he had to cancel shows and quickly look for other space. 

Being courted by other neighborhoods outside of West Town to establish his site, Ravens decided to stay in the area, moving from the East Village to Noble Square. 


The community and residents are reflected in the Milwaukee Ave. windows as Jason Lim performs

Since its opening in December 2010, using the ground floor space, including front window bays on both sides of the recessed door, Ravens brought in an array of international talent. 

DEFIBRILLATOR has become a premiere destination for international performance artists. 

Though this move was not expected, in the long run this disruption will give dfb an opportunity to make strategic changes that will match and exceed the increased stature that the gallery has been achieving. "We are going to open with a more polished space," said Ravens.  

Moving out of a live/work space into a business only space, Ravens looks forward to being able to physically separate his personal and business spaces. 


Observers and car crashers at Non Grata performance at a Carroll St. location

During the last three-and-a-half plus years, performances ran the gambit of almost imperceptible movement such as Singapore's Jason Lim to outrageous actions of Non Grata. Some performances were presented in other locations such as the Society of Arts, 1112 N. Milwaukee Ave., Vittum Theatre, 1034 N. Noble St., and other locations appropriate for the performance.  

An internationally known performer himself, Ravens studied here and abroad and has performed around the world. He is passionate about increasing the awareness of the performance arts and facilitating quality performance art being available in Chicago and particularly in Chicago's near northwest side. 

Ravens has indicated that he has a confirmed booking for an Austrian artist for the second week in February 2015, when the new space will have its debut. 

Grateful for support from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, Ravens said that volunteers would be appreciated for fund raising, labor and general support. "Having people from all over the world call with support when they heard about our new challenge helped me decide to not only to keep going on this journey but to aim for higher levels," said Ravens.



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