Christa Donner

Dear Human
West Ridge Nature Park, 5801 N Western Ave
Open 6 AM – 8 PM Daily

Dear Human is a multi-sensory walk through Chicago’s West Ridge Nature Park, activating messages from non-human residents: its pond, a deer tick, a tree, and others. Bring your smartphone and headphones for an immersive experience merging narration with the existing soundscape through site-specific prompts to listen, touch, and find your place within the local ecology. Experience Dear Human at West Ridge Nature Park anytime by visiting the collected materials below. 

Collected Materials // Booklet + Map .pdf or Google Maps // Audio Playlist .wav or Soundcloud // Transcript .pdf or Online // #dearhumanwalk

For many years the land that is now the West Ridge Nature Park served as a dumping ground for debris as part of one of Chicago’s oldest cemeteries. During its renovation as a public park in 2013, artifacts revealed it to be part of an enormous precolonial Native American village, and a center for trade, travel, and healing for tribes including the Potowatami, Miami, Kickapoo, and many others. Dedicated as public park space in 2015, the Nature Park is a 21-acre oasis in the heart of the city, supporting native plants, birds, amphibians, deer, and other wildlife including a dedicated community of humans.

Christa Donner is an artist and organizer whose practice combines material exploration and social exchange to move between the emotional architecture of our own bodies and the layered histories of the world we inhabit. As a volunteer at West Ridge Nature Park she helped to redesign its nature play area in 2018. Donner's work is exhibited widely, including projects for the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin, Germany), The NTU Centre for Contemporary Art (Singapore), Chiaki Kamikawa Contemporary Art (Paphos, Cyprus), and throughout the United States. For more information, please visit

This work is a part of Navigations, a series of artist projects shared and realized in public/common space. This work is being shared at West Ridge Nature Park in alignment with The Available City as a partner program of the Chicago Architecture Biennial.