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Alleys & Ruins no. 134, Dub Stop (2010, Chicago, IL, 11pm)

Alleys & Ruins no. 134, Dub Stop (2010, Chicago, IL, 11pm)

Alleys & Ruins no. 134, Dub Stop (2010, Chicago, IL, 11pm)


A short behind-the-scenes video is available here.


Sometimes a scene stirs in me the ethereal feelings of a dream, and more precisely the feeling that I'm dreaming as a child. I get that fleeting but wonderful feeling that everything is cloaked in the supernatural and that the scene before me belongs in a child's blissful fantasy. That's when I know I'm onto something and I put my tripod down.

Overlapped with this is an adult, intellectualized attempt to translate the dream into a theatrical image, one where I'm trying to involve the viewer by simplifying their ability to step into the space.

But these scenes and these spaces are hardly wonderful for most people, and it's telling that I pick these locations to manifest my vision because they are also bleak desperate examples of acute urban decay, and I have always loved them. They can be dangerous, as I can testify from having pursued this strange obsession for so many years.

Because of this paradox, my work is likewise a tug of war between these extreme world views. My art is a fusion of beauty and ugliness, joy and sadness, light and darkness, optimism/pessimism, life and death.


A 32X40 print in a shadowbox frame of Dub Stop is in the Illinois State Museum's permanent collection, It was acquired by the museum in 2014.


Dub Stop was the featured image in the Chicago Tribune's arts Pick of the Week: an exhibit at the Illinois State Museum that featured an 8X10 foot print of Dub Stop. 


For the 20th anniversary of the Alleys & Ruins series, the Chicago Art District displayed an 8x10 foot print of Dub Stop (among other pieces from the series) in their street level Show Pods for 4 months. That was the longest they had ever kept an exhibit up.
Someone had scrawled "Dub" on the Stop sign, and thats how this picture gets its name. But Dubstep is a type of electronic music, and Dubstep dance is a style that involves lots of popping. When done well, it is absolutely mind blowing. Check out this example


I've explored dozens of Chicago's bridges and underpasses in search of places to shoot at night. So I've seen my fair share of crumbling infrastructure. Many of the places I've looked at simply rusted all the way through, hanging by a hair. I could have put my arm through many of the steel beams holding up tons of steel and concrete. Dub Stop was a heavily rusted structure but by no means anywhere near the worst. 

Lots of news stories about this rust and corrosion situation have been produced.

Maybe the danger is hyped but it sure looks crazy when you look at some of the corrosion supporting these structures!


CBS video

Rusty bridges, disaster looming? Expert assesses dangerous rust at a Chicago overpass bridge. Trains roll overhead while cars and pedestrians are underneath. Is collapse possible?


Also from CBS

Investigators: Steel Columns Supporting Bridges Riddled With Holes, Rust

Steel columns so rusted they appear to be hanging by a thread - that's what Investigator Pam Zekman found holding up some underpasses and bridges.

An expert says immediate action needs to be taken.

Steel columns - full of rust and looking more like Swiss cheese than support beams - help hold up an underpass on Cermak, just east of Canal.

Fred Pierre frequently walks under it.

"Yes, it is dangerous, it might fall any time," he says.

Every day, hundreds of cars drive through the underpass. Trains rumble overhead.

"Some of these columns are not even supporting the structure," says Gongkang Fu, an Illinois Institute of Technology professor and structural engineer.

He inspected the underpass and rusted-out support columns and said: "They're so bad they need to be immediately replaced - immediately."

Several, critical support columns failed his inspection.

"Without them the bridge can collapse," he says.

CBS and Prof. Fu found more problems at an under pass at 31st and Stewart.  Roof beams were visibly bent; they're supposed to be holding the weight of the bridge.

And then there is the underpass down the line near 28th and Stewart.  It's apparently in such bad shape that barricades have been put up to prevent traffic from driving through it.

"I would rate them to be the lowest in the country in terms of maintenance. Apparently there's no maintenance at all," he said.

Both Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern railroads share responsibility for maintaining the bridges. They say they're inspected once or twice a year and are currently safe.

Union Pacific says even their columns with holes through them are cosmetic, more than structural, problems.



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