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Monday, 23 March 2009


So, last week I was in Chicago with Uni. 
Chicago, is cool. Damn cool. When everyone tells you that everything is big in America, its a given and you generally nod along in belief thinking thats that 7th time you have been told this fact.

Truth is, words cannot being to justify HOW big everything is. The sheer enormity of the buildings gives you cramp in your neck, and to cross a road brings new meaning to "getting to the other side safely". 
Food portions are astronomical. I still can't understand how people can eat such large portions for meals and not feel ill or sick afterwards or suffer from heartburn. Which could explain America's Current obesity problem. Although saying this, we didn't see any obesity- except maybe when we went to the Pizza Resturant.

It's a shame that we couldn't spend more time in Chicago, the city is so vast you can't possibly cover it all in the time frame we were given. 

An aspect I loved of the City was Wicker Park area. It oozed charm and had an arts scene that permeated sophistication and chicness that was somewhat elitest. Despite this, there was some cool record shops, galleries, vintage clothes shops, street art and potentially the best cafe.... EVER.

No joke, best burger and fries I have ever eaten in my life ever...
Long live the messy Burger. Comprising of  black bean burger, cheese, caramelised onions, mustard dressing and peppercorn dressing and spicy fries.
Oh my days, I never wanted the meal to end...ever. My friend had a steak sandwich with fries. I don't convey a word of a lie when I say there was the best of half a cow between the bread.

Something that continues to shock me and baffle me about America is that amount of poverty that is around. Away from the slick sky scrapers and haute cuisine of the resturants, there is the streets of the poor, where they struggle to make ends meet and gang culture is the norm. We walked streets and streets of some of the poorer neighborhoods and soon realised that America is not always the land of dreams it always wants to portray itself as.
On every street corner, musicians cling to the dream of the Jazz music following which gave some meaning to black working community in bygone eras. The jazz scene, although still existant, is now somewhat jaded and only exists for the tourist population. There is a sadness to it when you see a drummer drumming to try and recreate the magic of what once was, but the spell is broken, and no matter how long you drum, its will never come back.

However, the America dream and ceremony exists still is some parts of the city. One of the best places I saw this was the United Centre when we saw the Blackhawks Hockey Team play a match. 
Everyone stands to sing the National Anthem and pomp and pride that most Americans have in this country is something to marvel at and admire. I doubt I would see the same amount of Patriotic fervor in this country.

All in all I really enjoyed myself and saw a multi-faseted view of Chicago that deviates from what the Guidebook suggests.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Nuclear Power.

So this is my life drawing project for this week. Needless to say my feet have barely touched the ground this week. After being ill last week, everything seemed to get rather manic all at once. 

But I'll start with this. This weeks brief was Climate Change. I decided upon the idea of nuclear power. Despite the fact that we are investing money into more renewable sources of energy, the amount of power they will provide will not quench our lust for energy and technology. So it has to be soured elsewhere. Sadly, it seems Nuclear power is the only answer.

The very idea of Nuclear Power fills me with dread. In the Sellafield area, child leukaemia is more prevalent then any other part of the UK, on the Dounraey plant in the Scottish Highlands, radioactive particles were released accidentally that were later sourced further along the coast line. To me Nuclear power is ticking time bomb that will have catasrophic effect on our environment and ourselves. But the power that Nuclear plants provide is somewhat insatiable. which brings me to my next point.

What is the point of all of us doing "our bit" for the environment, when in reality we are only going to sell out to nuclear power, and no matter how many plastic bags we save, it will not save the earth if something was to go wrong.

Moreover, it seems very in vogue at current for people to appear green and carry their "Bags for life" around, except that the reality is that soon as may return home from their shopping trips, their homes are fed by Nuclear power.
I don't pretend to be a martyr. I'm as guilty as anyone when it comes to energy consumption, Hence why i felt this was such a sticking point.

What is the point in being "green" when we are only going to sacrifice everything for our love of technology?
And this is what my image is about. I wanted to make the image in two halves and but it on a "bag for life". the idea is that from one angle, the bag portrays a wistful image that echoes affinity with being green and almost "at one with the earth".
However, by flipping the bag over, you can see the reality. The subject is being seduced by nuclear power and the very idea of recycling pales into insignificance. This is further emphasised by the use of radioactive signs that slowly transform into flowers, suggesting that idea of Nuclear power is so seductive when it comes to feeding our technology needs.

Th image consists f photographs, my own drawings and textures. I screen printed the image onto canvas and made the bag to confront the idea of how faceless this big "green" push really is.

All products and images Copyright Charlotte Cooper 2009.