South Side of Chicago | Robert Wyrod

Robert has produced a range of films, including documentaries, experimental works, and activist videos. Many of Robert’s films have explored issues related to the human body, including how medical technology constructs our notions of the body, the frontiers of human genetic engineering, and the martial arts as a form of cultural resistance.

Robert’s films have been broadcast on Chicago Public Television and Free Speech TV, presented at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, screened at media arts centers including Chicago Filmmakers and Artists’ Television Access, and presented internationally in Australia, Indonesia, Europe, and Guinea.

Robert was first introduced to film production and video activism at Downtown Community Television, an internationally-recognized media arts center in New York City. In the early 1990s, Robert co-founded a video collective, Southside TV, in the Puerto Rican community in Williamsburg Brooklyn. In addition to producing activist videos, this collective helped curate Testimonio, a major exhibit on Latino culture in New York City at the New Museum of Contemporary Art.
Robert’s curatorial work also includes Corporeal Constructions, a film program he curated in 1998 for Chicago Filmmakers, the premiere film-arts venue in the Midwest. The program explored representations of the body in science and the cinema, presenting both experimental and archival films.
Robert was involved in the Indymedia movement, and in 2001 he co-founded Indymedia Newsreal, a monthly alternative news program. Newsreal is broadcast nationally on Free Speech TV and has been produced monthly since 2001.
Robert’s film and video experience also includes many years of work as a television news producer. In New York City, he was the biomedical reporter for a daily Japanese television science news program. In Indonesia, he was a producer for Metro TV, Indonesia’s national, 24-hour broadcast news network. He also worked as a freelance editor for CNN International  in Jakarta, and for two years he was a staff producer for CAN-TV, the Chicago community television network.
More recently, Robert has combined his interest in film production with his sociological research. His 2002 documentary South Side Warriors  was produced as part of his ethnographic research into the cultural politics of the martial arts in Chicago’s African-American communities.
Robert’s current documentary project, Bwaise Town, explores changing conceptions of masculinity in urban Uganda. It was filmed during his fieldwork in the Bwaise slum of Kampala and focuses on the challenges three young men face becoming men in Bwaise.