Even by Chicago standards the weather here in the midwestern U.S. has been bizarre and extreme lately. We’ve seen giant walls of fog caused in part by a bitterly cold winter that chilled Lake Michigan, and numerous lightning storms that last for hours. Local videographer Craig Shimala was filming a timelapse of a derecho from his home this week when he managed to capture a triple lightning strike on three of Chicago’s tallest buildings: Willis Tower, Trump Tower and the John Hancock Building. Even more incredibly, he filmed the same occurence almost four years ago to the day back in 2010.
After one of the most brutal winters in over 30 years, Chicago’s streets are pockmarked with an estimated 600,000 gaping potholes, making some streets almost impassable and raising the ire of residents citywide. The issue is so prevalent that the city even created a dedicated Pothole Tracker that shows potholes patched by the Department of Transportation over the last seven days. But some Chicagoans are more proactive and aren’t content to wait for help. One such person is artist Jim Bachor who has taken to filling potholes with original tile mosaics.
Inspired in part by trips to view ancient art in Italy during the 1990′s, Bachor has been creating mosaic work for several years, though of a much more whimsical nature. Think mosaics of coffee cups, twinkies, and boxes of cereal. For his pothole project Bachor has filled about 7 potholes with his original artwork that borrows from the design of the Chicago flag. While some of the mosaics simply read POTHOLE others are given unique ID numbers or include the phone number to nearby auto repair shops (the city has received 1,100 claims of car damage due to potholes this season). Bachor says the tongue-in-cheek approach is meant more as a sense of civic pride than a form of complaint against the city, as the potholes are an inevitable part of living in Chicago.
Photo by Kate Sierzputowski courtesy Hyperallergic
Bachor hopes to do a few more pieces in the near future, though each mosaic costs around $50 to make and takes a considerable amount of time to prepare and install. Also, the resulting patch is temporary; these aren’t meant as a permanent fix. You can read more about the project over on Hyperallergic, and you can see more of Jim’s work at the Thorndale Red Line stop in a few months. (via Hyperallergic)
While on approach to Chicago O’Hare International Airport last week after a business trip, amateur photographer Mark Hersch glanced out his window at the setting sun and decided to pull out his iPhone to take a photo. Right then the plane banked for a 180-degree left turn over Lake Michigan for a final westward approach when an unexpected play of light occurred: the entire skyline of Chicago was suddenly projected in shadow from underneath the cover of clouds. It’s safe to say this is textbook definition of a once-in-a-lifetime shot. Photo courtesy Mark Hersch. (via Twisted Sifter)
A quick local news segue, the wintry assault here in Chicago as a result of the Polar Vortex has been bitterly cold and dangerous as temperatures plunged to historic lows over the last 48 hours. Despite the life threatening temperatures, it’s also been strangely beautiful. The landscape, especially along the Lake Michigan shore, has been transformed into an Arctic wonderland the locals are calling CHIBERIA. Here’s a collection of some of the best photos I’ve seen from Chicago’s most intrepid photogs who braved the absurd weather to snap a few amazing photographs. Am I missing any great shots? Get in touch. A huge thanks to all of the photographers for providing images for this post.
Currently touring several cities in the U.S., The Happy Show by graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister, blurs the boundaries between art and graphic design with a great mix of installations, imaginative typographical displays, and interactive artworks. The large exhibition is punctuated with social data gathered from Harvard psychologists Daniel Gilbert and Steven Pinker, anthropologist Donald Symons, psychologist Jonathan Haidt, as well as several prominent historians. There’s also free gum! And candy! And giant inflatable monkeys! The Happy Show is currently on view at the Chicago Cultural Center through September 23rd, 2013. I’ve been twice now, and you should go too. Images above courtesy Stefan Sagmeister.
Mirror City is the latest video from photographer and filmmaker Michael Shainblum that takes time-lapse footage of Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas and Los Angeles and runs it through a constantly shifting kaleidoscopic pattern of mirrors. Shainblum says of the piece took about four months to edit and adds:
These clips were all processed from their original form, into the kaleidoscopic visuals that you see in this video. Many people visit these large cities every day, and all of these places have been shot and filmed, but I wanted to emulate these urban landscapes in a way that nobody has even seen before. I wanted to put man-made geometric shapes, mixed with elements of color and movement to create less of a structured video, and more of a plethora of visual stimulation.
And a plethora of visual stimulation it is indeed. The fun part for me was trying to recognize all of the different cities as the patterns become more abstract and chaotic. Amazing editing. I definitely suggest watching it full-screen with HD turned on. (via vimeo)
Calgary-based artists Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett (previously) swung by Chicago this month and installed this amazing interactive lighting solution called Cloud Ceiling at Progress Bar. Constructed from hand-bent steel, reflective mylar, electronics, motion sensors, LEDs, and 15,000 re-appropriated incandescent light bulbs, the cloud is now a permanent fixture in the bar which opened earlier this week. Motion sensors embedded in the ceiling cause the cumulous surface of light bulbs to illuminate, effectively ‘mapping’ a lit path through the cloud as bar patrons move through the space.
Brown and Garret were featured in this space last year, for a similar interactive cloud installed at Nuit Blanche Calgary. You can learn more about Cloud Ceiling here.