The other Chicago experience

So I had a prior post showing you the sugar coated, candy side of Chicago. Yes I plead guilty to this charge. To redeem myself I promise you, this post will be different. The photography style is inspired by the Japanese photo magazine “Provoke” (プロヴォーク) from the late 1960s. I suppose “Provoke” intended to use style in support of a message of aggression and opposition, here I use it to create a dark mood.

You ask what is a city? What is Chicago? A city, I am afraid, is nothing less than an orgy in abuse. The first victim is nature itself. Steel, concrete, asphalt, brick, and pollution are our substitute for what once was. Parks, trees and gardens are but a pale excuse which we use to forget the destruction we inflicted. Think about it! No city feeds itself, provides its own basic necessities like air and water. So why then do we water, weed and protect these decorative figments of nature? The truth is, we cannot stand our own creation.

But when nature strikes back, like it occasionally does, we celebrate it, we love it, and we breath a sigh of relief. For a brief moment fog, snow and ice allow us to forget the barbaric nature of the city.

However such interruptions are short lived and soon the mad rush is back on. Cars, trains, busses and subways jump back into action ready to deliver you into the heart of the city so you may continue your delusional chase of ever elusive fame and fortune.

Like every race this race has its winners and losers. The odds are you will not be among the winners. This is why your abuse continues. Now man turns on his fellow man and you feel how fear settles into your soul. Ever afraid of naked violence all eye contact is to be avoided, you look straight ahead or hide your eyes behind shades. Headphone, IPhone, Social Media these are your only escape. They last for a short train ride, a cab ride. And then, what then? Then, my friend its your turn to go back to the drum beat of continued exploitation.

Fences go up, walls are erected, prisons built, these are the tools needed to contain the insanity when your fellow men preys on you. This is why you move and live in boxes, surrounded by doormen, building codes and security cards with twenty different ways to identify yourself.

In a desperate attempt to regain your humanity, a sense of community, a safe place, you may turn to beliefs. Feel free to do so. Crosses go up all the time, churches are built but of course you do know they too must crumble because communities are rotated like herds of sheep to make place for shopping centers, highways, gentrification and profit.

When you finally run out of energy, and years have passed, what is left but a path of destruction, broken dreams, and a live crushed. Your church lies derelict, your home was boarded up, your job went to a younger person, your account shows zero, your youthful optimism forever trampled into dust.

Over the years this city has crept into your bones and sucked out life itself and in return it gave you the gift of cancer. Poor chap, I am afraid they failed to teach your this in school. But the currency of this city that you created, with its air pollution, lead paint, rusted pipes and stress, is cancer. Not dollars, not diamonds or gold, but cancer. By the time you realize this it will be too late, there will be no escape, no door left open and all you can do, my friend, is to wait for the light to fade away and melt into the hot summer pavement of the streets to join the shadows of the legions devoured by this city, Chicago.

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