Friday, April 22, 2011

Making the Invisible Known: Images of a City

Barney Kulok's In Visisble Cities act as story telling and a map making device of sorts which bridge time between the past and present. How New York City's past is always so close to its present remained a constant theme throughout the readings made available in class. The past of New York City remains a reminder to all things before it, both tangible and not. Although New York City's urban milieu is constantly being recontextualized through literal demolitions and reconstructions, the oral history and memory of a place shifts too. How one's personal experience shapes a place and event, another's can be vastly different. This notion of how memory of time is made in a moment in history, like September 11th, is especially of note because arguably the event was felt so collectively, but each individual identification with the event is a little different. How an artist like Barney Kulok reshapes and makes new maps of seemingly familiar locales uses modern technology of mapping available WiFi networks he sees on his cellphone while walking familiar paths from known location to location, past to present, within New York CIty.

The process is as follows, in Kulok's own words:

In Visible Cities consists of three monochromatic panels and one photograph. To make each panel I began by choosing two points in Manhattan which would act as the frame. The titles of the pieces were chosen for places that once existed at these coordinates, but no longer exists today. I then walked between these sites and, using my phone, collected the names of all the WiFi networks that appeared on my screen along the route. I arranged the found text from each walk into grids and produced large stencils. On four-by-eight-foot aluminum panels I used acrylic paint and sprayed the ground black. Using the same pigment I then sprayed through the stencils, creating a field of names rising in low relief above the monochromatic surface. The resulting works are cameraless landscapes, invisible snapshots; representations of both the paths depicted and the moment of their recording, connecting the passage of time in the history of the city to the specific date the network names were recorded. This makes the project peculiarly photographic; the recording device has simply transformed from a camera into a phone.

Kulok's description of cameraless landscapes and the idea that even though his project is without an actual photograph, the process itself in inherently photographic because of the use of a recording device and the pinpointing of a specific place and the moment in which it is recorded. As New York City is a constantly changing place, Kulok's work is a connector for its locations' past lives as well as what those places operate as today. The way that Kulok's works operate within this project go a step further to demonstrate Michel de Certeau's statement that "what can be seen designates what is no longer there", in that the WiFi networks are there but invisible, they represent the inhabitants of places and spaces that have changed over the years. Kulok's In Visible Cities project serves to examine the changing surfaces of the street, public and private spaces. Kulok's works appear to be a way to blend the city, art and space. Even though the pieces are presented singularly within a group, the imagery examines the city as a series of the new and now, how situations are viewed in pieces, but act as a whole creating a background of their/our collective visual and verbal memory which is brought together to form a vision of composites.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Week 12: Archiving and Saving

[Zoe Leonard]

Johanna Burton begins her essay, New York, Beside Itself, with recounting another author's memory of walking through the streets post September 11th and still expecting to see the Twin Towers. The author, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, recounts that she would feel compelled to look South, even if not heading in that direction on Fifth Avenue to still see if they were there, or, redirect her mind that of course they would come back, they wouldn't leave forever. How we identify landmarks, whatever their beauty or purpose aids in our orientation within the city [ala people like Haussmann and Kevin Lynch]. Burton begins to equate the urban landscape with a face, not the same, but in some ways in terms that for quite some time, the city has been considered by many to be a living entity, encompassing the organic, responsive and transitional. We could look for the same cues of familiarity that we associate so much with human expression, it's readability, to explore and connect further to the city.

In Burton's opening with reflections upon Sedgwick, she explores too how some contemporary artists working with and within New York City after 9/11 didn't necessarily make work that directly commented on the impact of the event. This statement makes me think to our Monday meeting in the Museum of Contemporary Photography in which we conversed with Natasha Egan about Chinese artists working in urban China. One of the questions raised was, in China after the Cultural Revolution, are any artists free from having their work associated implicitly with being political? What are our preconceived notions or methods for putting a piece in context for our understanding, which may be so far removed from the actual content or conception of a piece?

A specific section within Burton's essay is one of note when it looks to how artists archive. It explores how artists compellingly use, abuse, digest, retool, re-regard or even disregard histories. As Burton looks to contemporary artists who she argues have a ravenousness, an uncouthness, an unruly drive to seek and reframe history. Indeed she states that it is precisely an infidelity to history, which is not the same as a lack of respect. Or, there is a faithlessness [is this better?] "to the presumption of history as singular, solid, sealed or fully relegated to the past that makes these artists' practices something other than mournful or nostalgic. That New York can be seen as so many iterations of itself, only highlights its potential to function as a site both actually and perceptually pictured." This is a strong point in that it asks us how does one wholly and completely archive? History is so contextual, bathed in our assignments of meanings to things which since we may not know about something, especially if we were not there, we conjure definition. Even so much like making a photograph, you edit from step one. Burton further enforces this point by framing it within the described map making process of Jonathon Flatley, in that a subject can never truly consider themselves independent or to have full autonomy, because everything shifts and becomes entangled with so many others [and maps].

[Tom Burr]

[Richard Serra]

Burton writes about reinterpretations of known works, she points to the artist Tom Burr. Burton claims works with the "particularities" of "occupation and use", to explore the possibility of spaces having more than one single, private dimension are exemplified in a work such as Burr's Deep Purple, which becomes a rendition of Richard Serra's Tilted Arc and further comments on an on-going belief that Serra's bulky public works act in a way to shield illicit activities. To continue this examination, she features the artist John Miller who photographed various locales in New York City where sex clubs once operated. The images that seem fairly straightforward in approach go further than looking at the commonalities and regularities of these spaces, even the prominence of them and what was, but focuses more on as Burton states what lies beneath. As Burton continues to look at artists who work from history or make attempts to redefine time spheres from it, she examines Zoe Leonard whose pictures reframe things and places in already set borders, Burton argues she achieves this aesthetically and culturally. How Zoe Leonard exactly reframes actions, could be looking or exposing the private within the public. Her photographs look at the ways her subjects represent themselves and therefore present a way to become understood by others, even when said subject is absent. The photographs acts to gather the sum of what is left, to see the history, whatever is made available. As Burton looks to frame Zoe Leonard's work under Rosalyn Deutsche's terms, Leonard's photographs pass from being simply pictures, but act to prompt. How the work prompts I believe is inescapable from a personal reframing that what the viewer brings to the work, in that how does the viewer frame spaces by assigning them meaning? Are the assignments conjured by preconceived notions or memory? If the latter, what shapes the memory, what senses are used?

[Zoe Leonard]

Works from artists like Leonard, or even Moyra Davey [whose photographs of New York City newsstands 17 years ago become an important part of the history making within that city as these objects are becoming more rare on the streets], act as placeholders within a history. These works operate within a city that is constantly reimagined and transformed within its borders. Its future partially dictated from its past, in constant tug-of-war with its limitations and possibilities.

[Moyra Davey]

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Week 11: Urban China, A Global Megalopolis

[Wang Qingsong]

After reading through Reversed Images: Representations of Shanghai and Its Contemporary Material Cultural,
Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents, the catalog from the exhibit Made in China at the MCA in Chicago, as well as viewing multiple video clips from the Tiananmen Square Protests, it is staggering the review these collective pieces and reflect upon how much China has changed just in my lifetime.

The format of the catalog to the Made in China exhibit mimics the wallpaper layout of the show. It functions as a type of time-line, exploring China from its agriculturally rich history throughout its political and governmental transformations to the overwhelming urbanization efforts it has and continues to undertake. The time-line operates in such a way that sections in different ink colors, break up titling to separate red ink for representing "formal, ordered or planned governmental decisions, while blue ink covers the informal, organic or ad-hoc responses and reactions to the enforced policies or events. Tricia Van Eck, states within the catalog that the wallpaper setup encourages the viewer to further interact with other visitors of the show and to answer a set of questions Jiang Jun poses. As the Editor in Chief to Urban China, the only Chinese magazine which researches urbanism in China, Jiang Jun asks the viewer a series of questions focusing on seeing China in many different forms. Some of the more fascinating questions center around looking to "active" public spaces in China and what differentiates them from those in the United States?

In the excerpts from the Tiananmen Square Mini Documentary, the narration begins to explain that Tiananmen Square is the largest public space in the world, intentionally built on an inhuman scale which in part means to reduce humans to the importance of the state. Stated by
Michel de Certeau that some specific sites are nearly impossible to separate from specific words, Tiananmen Square rises to the top of that list. The space is seeped in a history of political events, including the protests of 1989 in which hundreds of protesters were killed, possibly many more. A site like Tiananmen Square is so specific and yet evokes such incredibly varied responses, based on emotion, interaction and the preconceived notions which seem eternally linked with the public.

Jiang Jun also asks us how an active "public" can be generated in China? Even though
China is a country full of cities that are at the forefront of reigning powers in the global economy, I would argue that an uncensored internet could create a more active public. Even though in many developed countries, millions do not have access to the internet for multiple reasons, in most areas of China even those that do have access are limited due to the State. What does it say about a society that keep its people "in"? One of the confusing aspects of this is that the country plays on the international stage of trade and economic powers, especially due to its population who creates the goods, but prohibits them from total information.

[Tian Taiquan]

Throughout the
Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents article excerpts, artists such as Huang Yan, Zhan Wang and Chen Shaoxiong examine the changing urbanism within cities that looks to infrastructure and cultural shifts. Between making rubbings of buildings before, during and after demolition, creating mirrored surfaced "artificial rockery" and attempting to photograph every aspect of an urban landscape, these artists attempt to understand their very temporal and transitional spaces. Chen Shaoxiong's attempts at focusing on every object, including all seemingly insignificant, in an effort to examine and memorialize his rapidly changing Guangzhou is reminiscent of artists like Christopher Wool, Moyra Davey and Roy Colmer working in New York City.

[Zhan Wang]

[Chen Shaoxiong]

In addition to these works, an Australian Dateline feature named China's Ghost Cities and Malls investigates the booming large-scale infrastructure projects in China. Millions of apartments and commercial spaces have sat vacant for years and per current predictions will continue to remain unoccupied. The unbelievable costs of home ownership and the strict conditions in which that dream could be possible seem so unattainable even to very high earners. Facts stated that some projects require a 50% down-payment on property followed by the requirement of the balance to be payed off in 3 years. The destruction of historic neighborhoods followed by the replacement of huge redevelopment projects is so focused on setting the GDP high, that everything else suffers. State-assisted housing doesn't appear as an option even in a state controlled housing market. Several artists are following these occurrences photographically, including Edward Burtynsky, Zhang Xiao and Sze Tsung Leong.

Edward Burtynsky]

[3 images:
Zhang Xiao]

Although a little generalized, the following video explores "public spaces" within and around private developments in a few areas of urban China.

While exploring Chinese artists in the contemporary sphere, I ran across this great site, Conscientious, which leads to many images and personal artist sites. Many of the works by the Chinese photographers featured explore the multiple layers and intertwining cultural histories of China both before and after the Cultural Revolution. It is straightforward enough to point out multiple problems that China dwells within, not limited to: [gross negligence of human rights, Tibet, censorship, overpowering State control and massive urban renewal projects], but not as clear as how to shift them towards repair. Much of the Made in China show explores how to expand the dialogue surrounding these issues and how individuals, including artists, can tangibly and visually create changes for the reimagination of China.

[O Zhang]

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Week 9: Performance and Intervention

Lytle Shaw's essay, The Powers of Removal: Interventions in the Name of the City opens with an account of the writer Henry James returning to Manhattan [his birthplace and boyhood home] in 1904. His account of the rapid and ruthless transformation of the city is apparent. Shaw designates his reaction to the changes within New York City to that of the upper class, the aristocrat. The transitions to modernization were met with horror and shock. When James looks at Lower Manhattan, he laments about the powers of removal, in that the old churches and smaller buildings have been abandoned or razed, the newer ones [buildings] come in and take their place. James saw this as an unstoppable process which was actually part of a larger act of destabilization and would lead to the destruction of all buildings, much like Richard Nickel, 50 some odd years later in Chicago.

By the mid 1970's, Lower Manhattan was further being deconstructed and deindustrialized, the constant shifting of working class positions being replaced with white collar jobs. Although, within this area south on the island, a thinly populated area remained: Wall Street. When the labor jobs were moved from the piers of Manhattan to New Jersey, the money to control the industries remained central to Lower Manhattan where the work and structures to support these systems shifted. The heavy labor was replaced with technology and money exchanges.

Many artists and photographers working at this time were able to show a decaying shell of what once was in New York City, especially in something so modern like the rising of the World Trade Center. From their images we can see it built, services replacing goods which echoed the financial management replacing production and distribution. But what exactly has been removed from Lower Manhattan? Is it more our memory which holds tightly to form the city, its buildings and their subsequent meaning which we or others assign to them? It is at this point within the essay that Shaw talks of a
fin-de-siecle of sorts, the end of one era and the beginning of another.

Importantly, the essay asks the reader where does art fit into all of this? If art is concerned with these problems of removal, then where does it direct its strategies? How can artwork look at the forces of urban transformation. The essay and the thoughts swirling around it keep coming back to the definition of what constitutes public art? A lot of the "truths" of the given definition keep circling to another continuous question: Who is providing the definition and directing our gaze?

The city acts as a place of lively interest as it if full of private places breathing in a very public forum, such as apartments, corporate buildings, etc.
At the time when James returned to New York City, even he commented on the large number of windows on structures, enabling you now to see into the interiors of buildings. As the newer buildings went up and the older left or wrecked, a rumination by Michel de Certeau seems pertinent as he said, "What can be seen designates what is no longer there." As the landscape of the city changes, who is remembering or easily forgetting these places?

While there are literal ruins of buildings, any vacant building, other remnants of vacancy are present too, as Lytle Shaw states, these "unresolved seams" are between functional buildings, like gaps and cracks. The Shaw essay further points to artist
Matthew Buckingham, who through his work asks us to look at what the previous removal attempts were, the ones that came before. In example: the removal of the Lenape tribe to make the settling of the city more possible, as New York City was once New Amsterdam. The city is reappropriated in many forms and reshapes itself based on needs, wants and by those who are doing the shaping. Who are the agents of removal in the city? Shaw's essay looks to the familiar of outsourcing and deindustrialization, but questions if it is not more mysterious and distant? By projecting the common themes to the American landscape, it can seem familiar to paintings by a past figure like Thomas Cole, who urged our national language to take seriously landscapes in America as these ground too were the sites of importance, of revolution or story. A way to push current conflicts of specific sites.

[Thomas Cole: Landscape with Figures: Scene from Last of the Mohicans]

If trying to separate specific sites from specific words, three public places appear to be nearly impossible: Red Square, Tiananmen Square and the National Mall. They are so specific and yet evoke such incredibly varied responses. Michel de Certeau commented on this thought process as well in that the emotions and preconceived notions seem eternally linked with the public.
As Shaw describes Buckingham viewing the city in multiple ways, not only up the Hudson, but through the central harbors and canals, he is able to navigate the city in vertical, suspended and totalizing views. Buckingham references the cartographer of the city in this way as a "fictional disembodied eye suspended in high air", this sentiment to me plays reference to Ralph Waldo Emerson's "transparent eyeball" in his essay Nature.

Even if artists looking to examine these happening within the city, such as Christopher Wool, Gabriel Orozco, Moyra Davey and Roy Colmer, strive to not necessarily document the street, but examine different ways of looking at spatial organizations within a city and serve to examine the changing surfaces of the street and public spaces. As they look at the normal and hum-drum, the everyday things within our existences, their works also lends to the conversation of just how many subjects there are to look at within these public spaces on the street. If the seemingly mundane finds itself being imaged, just how many interventions could be made? How many things could be photographed?

[Gabriel Orozco]

[Both images: Christopher Wool]

[Moyra Davey]

[Both images: Roy Colmer]

Looking at what the street symbolizes, who creates the rules for the street and how we operate within in its confines or freedom, Frazer Ward's essay Shifting Ground: Street Art from the 1960's and 70's, proves helpful. Although to Jane Jacobs the street could be a place of self policing, it also harbored a place for
social unrest, destabilization and resolution. If the problems were born on the street stemming from misunderstanding of street problems, then their place to be resolved could be the street. The public street becomes a space for spectacle culture.

An artist like Claes Oldenburg, who was fully aware of the problems surrounding places like Washington Square Park and people like Robert Moses, shares a similar trope with Wool,
Davey, Orozco and Colmer in that their focus tends to shift towards the overlooked, the seemingly trite and ignored. Much of the work becomes a way to shine a light on public spaces for everyone to look. This video is a contemporary memorial to the people and city of Dresden in that "What people hear via bone conduction is the sound of the B-25 bombers, which destroyed most parts of Dresden's Old Town in WWII and which they see on the other side of the river
Elbe. This happened on 13.2.1945 [date on the icons].

In 2004, the Museum of Contemporary Photography held an exhibit titled Camera/Action: Performance and Photography. I distinctly remember the work in the show by
Tehching Hsieh and some of the writings available as synopsis of the show made many parallels to both the essays The Powers of Removal: Interventions in the Name of the City and Shifting Ground: Street Art from the 1960's and 70's. Below are some highlights of the [abridged] text:

[Tehching Hsieh: Time Clock]

"...Allan Kaprow, well known for orchestrating performance events in the 1960s, was bothered not only by the seeming incompatibility between still photography and temporal action-based art, but also by the effect of the camera’s presence on his happenings. He found that it brought an unwanted dimension of spectacle to the event, and that his participants behaved differently the minute photographers appeared on the scene. These attitudes, of course, presuppose a hierarchy in which one experience can be more authentic than another...They also ignore the fact that in the 1960s and 70s the experience of a live performance usually did include watching a photographer moving in tandem with the artist. Performance artists quickly realized that they relied on the documentation of their work to disseminate their ideas and actions to a larger audience. Many also found it helpful to be able to see, analyze and perhaps revise their works after the fact...if art always comes after experience — does it make sense to favor physical participation over imaginative participation?"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Week 8: Chicago in the 1960's and 70's

[Photo of UIC campus post 1970]

When Richard J. Daley took office, he sought the kind of power that could really transform a city. Among the numerous "urban" problems the mayor faced when taking office in Chicago including race relations, the list also included a serious lack of investment in the downtown area. With the general deindustrialization of cities post-WWII, Chicago was constantly being looked at as the "city on the make". The city needed revitalization and structure, out with the old and in with the new. To note the beginnings of the Chicago Housing Authority [CHA] which was developed during 1937 under President Franklin Roosevelt's Public Works Administration, is an important subject to look towards as public housing and its subsequent problems would run parallel to race tensions, politics, urban development and population numbers. The first three housing projects were the Jane Addams, Julia C. Lathrop and Trumbull Park Homes. These structures fell within Roosevelt’s New Deal programs to provide affordable housing for low-income families.
As the middle of the century was passing, ideas of how the structures of public housing should actually look and function swung literally much higher, to high rise operations. Clustering hundreds of apartments among single structures, then closely placing the separate structures together accounted for thousands of living quarters atop of one another. Close to each other, but not close to city amenities and simultaneously not utilizing the entire amount of land assigned for such huge projects.

As Daley looked to ways of improving Chicago, he focused his attention on the University of Illinois at Chicago having a downtown location. The university was getting by at its location on Navy Pier, but the mayor was ready to expand. After a plan fraught with political, financial and neighborhood problems, sites on the near West side of the city just West of Halsted street was decided on. The new campus of UIC was designed by Walter Netsch, an architect most closely aligned with Field Theory. The architectural group under which he worked was Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the same organization which developed the Hancock Building in Streeterville. The photographs at the beginning of this post are what the UIC campus looked liked post 1970, the drawing directly below the photograph is the design for areas of the campus which were never built West of the expressway. Note that that drawing was rendered in 1961 and features the Hancock Building, whose construction did not begin until 1965. With how much controversy the buildings of the UIC campus came with, it is startling to think what the further development of the campus could have done to those plotted neighborhoods.

While Chicago became a city to incorporate more highways and expressways within and around its environs, Daley pushed more and more for what the National Interstate Highway and Defense Act, signed by President Eisenhower in 1956 enacted. Chicago was to become a city more accessible by automobiles, keeping in mind that the car culture and transportation infrastructure of this period was leaning much more heavily on automobiles as the focus. With the super roads to be developed in the city, something had to move. Buildings, neighborhoods, people and their cultures became uprooted, displaced and pushed to the side. Even Daley at times thought reflectively at what the influx of roads was doing to the image of the city in which he was raised. So the buildings came down and the roads went up, some with more commotion than others. The photographer Richard Nickel was one who looked to point out of such acts of demolishment. To see the buildings razed, the images were created as an act of preservation, because it was the last option. Nickel's photographs of a city that was becoming modern at the end of post-war America could not replace the buildings, but serve only as a way to provide an option for looking.

Nickel had the impossible task of realizing he would never be able to convince Mayor Daley to the importance of architectural gems the city could afford, much less the entire nation. The photographs act as a visual diagram to instruct those to look who do not have a camera. Nickel looked to present the works of "masters" such as Adler and Sullivan in Chicago, to have the photographs serve as a document. The images were to became a statement, Nickel thought the structures for the people along the lines of "this is all you have", so look at them, really look and think about why their destruction is allowed.

The city at this time is becoming a sign of many unhappy words: filth, poverty, crime and generally was equated with fear. Ignoring, defacing and thus destroying the architecture, whether big or small within the city seemed to be a sign of the times in Chicago. Real estate agencies and various politicians saw the "dinosaurs" of the Loop tired and worn. The downtown was seemingly poised for a push towards the new and modern. The city would build more roadways that made more places accessible by car, city distances to be measured less in pedestrian scale. Even public transit began to fade faster as multiple rail lines were cut throughout this time period and continue their decline today.

[Transit maps in 1898, 1942, 1944, 1975 and 2011 respectively.]

It is a wonder to look at the city mayors of past and what their nods and approvals went to for buildings. Even buildings that appear to be natural alliances to the architectural grounding of Chicago [Burnham and Root] were demolished. What kind of architectural efforts went supported, only to be torn down by the next mayor or developer. Bigger egos and seemingly better ideas as to how a city it supposed to look and function prevailed. Recontextualization of buildings and their purported beauty was not for post-war America and definitely not for Chicago. The sleek, shiny and eventually unusable was manufactured for replacement. The city is seeded within a rebuilding attitude, as it happened tragically and out of necessity due to the fire of 1871, why couldn't it happen over and over again voluntarily if it is to the benefit of the overall city, its environs and populous?

What maybe most likely saddened Nickel even more was the fact that the subtle aspects of the architecture did not yield the passerby, only when the wrecking ball was present people stopped to look. Nickel appears in the end even more adamant about looking at and to the structures even though he is moving away. There is a constant pulling, Nickel wants to look and document the buildings to urge the public, the masses, to keep looking at their greatness
but when asked to
lecture to college students on the subject of the demise of architectural art, he refuses. Besides being a private person, his ideals wrapped up in what he thought the newer generations would do to the past made his thoughts migrate towards thinking of this newer generation being incapable of appreciating the power of the word. Within argument to the buildings' lives and adequate living means he must have surmised to be best projected using a powerful impact of visual attempts as a presentation tactic. For the lecture request he suggested a film be made instead to show other people about building demise and to throw the spotlight on money grubbers and gangsters, the "business as usual" course within the city. The film could act as a way to really look at the happenings of destruction if you were so blind to not see them on the everyday street.

[Photo credits: Richard Nickel and photograph of Richard Nickel with salvaged ornamenture.]

The role of witness proved difficult for Nickel, although it appears he used the act of making his photographs as a way of looking, which made those moments both depressing and therapeutic in nature. Nickel, a reclusive character found solace and unrest within the entire process: scouting, stalking, looking, gazing, creating, imaging, development and then rest. Where did the pictures go, hopefully in his mind to a place where more of the common would see them like City Hall versus a more restrictive environment like the Art Institute. The photographs served to show areas all over the city. The "master gems" were not just destroyed in Daley's front and center Loop, but also in middle-class and lower-income neighborhoods, noting once again road development and public housing as CHA moved in with the mentalities of Le Corbusier for development practices.

The creative efforts in Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool race towards the visualization, both documentary and staged, in an ever changing city as Chicago was being imaged and imagined in many ways during this period. The political, social and racial tensions that rose directly after WWII came to a full boil during the summer of 1968. Some of the musical choices and staging of the two main characters in the film, John and Gus, camera and sound man respectively, very much resemble the 1966 film The Endless Summer. This classic beach movie follows two surfers in search of the perfect wave during one long summer, like John Cassellis is to follow the one big story. Even the use of actor Peter Boyle as the shooting range manager somehow felt predictive to aspects of his role as Wizard in Taxi Driver, another film which follows stories of tension closely but also so pinpoints the atmosphere in a city [New York City per Taxi Driver]. The character states that the role of the journalist is to record, much like Nickel felt his job to entail. They both look at the problems, while Nickel focuses on a two-dimensional presentation of three-dimensional objects, while Wexler uses a motion picture full of actual footage, staged drama and sound to fully captivate your attention to mounting city problems, rising in the film's conclusion during the 1968 democratic convention in Chicago, where the whole world was watching.

[Photo credit: Art Shay]

As Chicago was changing and photographs were made in response, each person works with their own strategy of looking while at the same time appears to work in tandem by including small details or an overall sense of the changing climate.

[Photo credits: Vivian Maier]

[Photo credit Art Shay, Nelson Algren Amuses a New Friend]

[Photo credit: Art Sinsabaugh]

No building was too insignificant to photograph, thus to look at. Nickel provided a private tour to the city, the neighborhoods, the peoples. His matter of fact way of looking provided a clear view, his attempts always trying to pull between the subjective and objective as Nickel repeatedly photographed the same thing over and over in different seasons, with different angles, different everything, a constant pursuit of the "right" way to see a building. Before his sad demise, Nickel was able to show a new city of shrouded masterpieces to a city that thought it knew its own place and secrets. He was able to point out just where to look, as there was always another building or rather ethos to focus on, so many more photographs to make.