The Kinzie Arranger

Walking down Wolcott under the Metra tracks at Kinzie I see a Heineken bottle upright between the viaduct's first two posts. An unremarkable thing: the city is strewn with bottles, intact and broken, as ubiquitous as single gloves. Between the next two posts an Amstel Light bottle. Then another Heineken. Then a Bud. The posts become frames; the bottles glint in the kelp-colored murk. Objects and setting are transformed: the bottles are creatures inhabiting their lair. Or offerings to the gods of rust and mineral deposits. Rivets snap into focus, become meandering ellipses; each shard of mirror, crumpled reciept, and mutilated action figure is in its place. Arranged. Walking around the area roughly bounded by Grand, Halsted, Lake and Western can become a maddening exercise. Is the styrofoam cup lodged between protruding rebar and retaining wall trash or token? Certain arrangements recur often enough to evince an agent--carefully placed bottles, tiny gravel cairns, trash bins taken from yards and placed in the middle of streets. Others are explicit enough to refute randomness--a glimmering ribbon of videotape stretching from Grand to Kinzie, weighted at intervals with stones. The Arranger (whether she or he exists is irrevelant) traces and retraces the line dividing chance and intention until it's as wide as videotape, the distance between two pebbles, the length of a viaduct, until the line is no longer a limit and the city is, again, at once familiar and utterly strange.

- Andrew Wilson


Arranged parameters, spring 2005:

Every object I pass can be an omen as to how my day might unravel. Taking inventory as I walk is second nature, a reflexive and constant gesture. On regular routes I begin to see garbage cans placed with a precise unknown purpose. At the edges of corners with no buildings, alleys with empty lots. I look for the two of mine which have been stolen.

Then the video tape, the fat kind like beta. A single piece carefully wound around two parked cars, gently woven between them. The end tucked under the front bumper.

One morning last week I was greeted with these.


starting at alley, 220 block N Damen
E side of street, along the fence of the dog training/furniture building
crossing sidewalk to curb for the last 3-4 feet.
ending at SE corner of Fulton and Damen


starting at E side of Kinzie Viaduct, 400 N Damen
up the access road towards the Metra tracks


starting at light pole by curb
just before E side of Hubbard, 500 N Damen
up and around the corner onto Hubbard


Parallel with #3, W side of Damen
running along Zeckman Supply


starting at light pole
NE side of Damen and Hubbard


Gravel parking lot across from Tommy's Grill
Ferdinand and Damen


- Melinda Fries