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Long-Winded
Installation Collaboration with Artist Mary Mihelic
2007
Mixed media

At one time, the Sears Tower was the world’s tallest building. Now it claims the less impressive title of the tallest building in North America. It is situated in the Windy City, nicknamed after the long-winded politicians. And like every politician’s claim to fame, this building’s claim to fame came and went. Aside from being a subtle commentary on politicians, this project focuses on how people interact with this building and the nature of the city in Chicago. It examines how people come and go, in and out of all sorts of buildings in a cold and windy city. So, representing the Sears Tower in this exhibition is this wind tunnel. People are urged to walk into the space and get blown around, hair gets messed up, skirts fly up, clothes blow in the wind, etc…

The artists spent time in Chicago, near the Sears Tower, collecting objects flying in the wind. They have collected items placed in the wind tunnel including: train ticket stubs, Wrigley gum wrappers, losing lottery scratch tickets, receipts, plastic bags, cigarette packages, cups, caution tape, movie stubs, newspaper pages, even the work schedule for the security guard shifts at the Sears Tower. They had been corresponding with Senator Obama’s staff about an offer he made to give something to put in the wind tunnel, but in keeping with the long winded reputation of Illinois politicians, this did not happen. So the artists have substituted Obama’s notes with his staff’s correspondence.

The colored gels that cover the flourescent light bulbs are synched to match the colors on the Sears Tower antennas. The visible fans are a reminder of the HVAC systems/cooling towers necessary on buildings such as this one.

This installation addresses Chicagoans love/hate relationship with the wind and cold, while asking us to reflect on the power of nature, reminding us to take care of our environment, to maintain the delicate balance that enables us to be protected from the forces of nature inside buildings such as the Sears Tower.

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