The city of Chicago has a plethora of sights to see and things to experience. It seems that there’s still so much to see even if you’ve lived here for a few years.
There’s great food, there’s parks, there’s common fun things you can go do with your family or take a date to.
Then there are forgotten structures, old heaps of concrete and metal left to stand in the wind til time tears them down, ready to be discovered (your date might enjoy that sort of thing if they’re cool).
Recently, a few of us Flow Motion-ites grabbed our cameras and took to the streets to go explore some abandoned locations. We wanted to see the underside of the city as we know it on the surface. We uncovered dark tunnels and windowless look out points, decades of graffiti and weather covering almost the walls.
When you walk through a place gone long unused, you can feel a presence. We didn’t encounter any ghostly prescenes (that we know of), but a prescence of history. It's the feeling that so many people have stepped where you are now. So long ago, though, that it makes you wonder what made them leave. Who were they? when was the last time they were here?
As a filmmaker, you can’t help but walk through these derelict spots and imagine all the scenes you could stage. There were tunnels that made me think a beast from The Descent was waiting behind a corner somewhere. Holes in walls where the sun could beam through flashed Raiders of the Lost Ark through my mind. To stand in a dark passageway, the quiet cold all around you, it’s easy to forget the city stands tall right outside, ever buzzing and powering through another day on Earth. This small corner is always here, enduring, aging, right under our noses.
What could've once been a place that folks showed up to to make a living has become a living exhibition of decay. The contributors being street artists and wanderers over the years. New paint spread over old blocks, the bright neon new meeting the jagged old. It’s a clashing of art that makes for something else entirely. It’s a massive work of art that’s age only makes it better.
It's a refreshing and satisfying exercise to explore this world, no matter what patch of Earth you find yourself on. It reminds you that it may be a small world, but it is FULL. By seeking out what exists in our reality, we get influence and ideas as to the stories we can create. There's plenty of material out there with the capacity to inspire and inform you.
The sidewalk is good, it'll take you straight where you need to go. But other routes can show you things you had no idea you wanted to see.
If you're going exploring, be safe, have fun, and keep your eyes and mind open.