“Chicago”, Sarah Morris’s tenth film, investigates the psychology, architecture and aesthetics of the American city made all the more resonant in the wake of President Obama’s administration.
When Miles van der Rohe emigrated to America in 1938, with the help of Philip Johnson, and was established as the Head of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, he not only created an image of America, but the reality of the contemporary American society. Continuing to play with duality, Morris’s “Chicago” is tandem with “Points on a Line”, shifting the lens to a panorama of an American city in transition. In “Chicago”, Morris reveals a new cityscape by tracking its modern architecture, the seemingly dead print world of publishing headquartered there, as well as its industrial role. A century after the publication of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”, the issues shift from food production to consumption and a struggling printing, publishing and advertising world.
A sequence of images and cinematic situations set to an original score by the artist Liam Gillick, range from John Hancock Center, Vienna Beef factory, Playboy Headquarters, Fermilab – home of the nation’s largest energy particle accelerator, Mayor Richard Daley, Ebony headquarters, and Alinea.
“Chicago” captures the varied layers of a complex metropolis without verbal commentary or narration. It explores the boundaries of documentary and fiction, and collides the city’s everyday moments with issues of social power and representation.