January 25, 2009

Plumbing pianos.

Marisol, a kindred photographer and friend, initiated a Chicago adventure this weekend. She spirited me away in the dead of night to Hyde Park, which is where I spent a few of my "formative" years. We stayed at her friends apartment for the night two blocks from my old one. In the morning after coffee coupled with pitas and olive oil we poked around his apartment with our cameras (including the rooms of his roommates...)

There was this great enclosure between the apartments with a lid of windows. The photo below was taken through a window.

Then we grabbed all day CTA passes and decided to start in the loop. She took me to her favorite building, a relic from the late 18th century, and it instantly became my favorite building as well. We spent hours here, discovering hidden rooms and lonely instruments and

this magnificent white room with windows overlooking the water


Crawling, sliding, clicking shutters and posing all over the these dusty surfaces for art

The grand white room contained a stage and a shrouded piano

harmonious trinity

plumbing pianos for their secrets
looking through keyholes and opening doors

finding ghosts at work

we slipped through a door, went down a short flight of stairs, into a dark room through a thick plastic curtain filled with machines with red and green lights from floor to ceiling and thick wire tresses flowing across the ceiling. Marisol found a door, the light from which illuminated the machinery, leading to this fire escape on the 8th floor. I'm afraid of heights so i had to take this picture as proof :)

Click the mosaic to see the full set.
Our next stop was the Museum of Contmporary Photography which is featuring a series of work by Michael Wolf entitled The Transparent City.
"Chicago is known for work by innovative architects such as David Adler, Daniel Burnham, Louis H. Sullivan, and Frank Lloyd Wright. After World War II, it established itself as a world capital of modern architecture influenced by the international style of Mies van der Rohe and home to notable projects by Helmut Jahn, Philip Johnson, and more recently Frank Gehry. [...] Wolf depicts the city more abstractly, concentrating less on individual well-known structures and more on the contradictions and conflicts between architectural styles when visually flattened together in a photography. His pictues look through the multiple layers of glass to reveal the environment, focusing specifically on voyeurism and the contemporary urban landscape in flux. Wolf explores the complex, sometimes blurred distinctions between private and public life in a city made transparent by his intense observation."
--Natasha Egan, Associate Director and Curator
Chicago is a fascinating metropolis by virtue of it's claim of the only throughly modern city in the world all because it nearly burnt to the ground in 1871. The building we played in was built a few years later and is remarkably intact. I can't see myself choosing to live in a metropolis (although the prospect is intriguing) however, I feel honored to live near enough to be able to explore its relics and learn its history through exploration.
Marisol and I ended our jaunt by hopping on the El again and rode it until we exited at stop we deemed compelling, wandering around another hour before returning home. It was just the ticket to get out of the house, meet warm people, wander about, and take hundreds of pictures.
Happy wandering :)
xo Lara


Stephanie said...

Wow, wonderful wandering you did. I love the photos and can just picture you 2 crawling around on the floor to get those shots...I thought (or more precisely, my husband thinks) I'm the only that that does that!

I love Chicago, have only been a few times, but love it...


Kaitlin said...

I loved reading about your adventure. I really like the way your black layout brings out the colors in your pictures! It adds more mystery to them as well. <3

susanna said...

I've never been to Chicago before. It's on my list. It sounds like a healthy city with such a fascinating history. You and I share a love for old buildings. Do you ever think of all the people who once roamed those buildings, those rooms? Your photographs look like they are settings for a film.

●• Tiny Red said...

beautiful shots lara...evocative images
keep up!:)