O-Week excursion


Tuesday afternoon, as part of Orientation Week, five first-years and their O-Week aide trekked downtown to take advantage of the Art Institute of Chicago’s free-admission day. The plan was to give the first-years a break from their adviser appointments, Chicago Life Meetings, and placement tests, and to teach them how to use the city’s public transportation to explore neighborhoods beyond Hyde Park. That last goal was made more complete by a 25-minute wait for the 55 bus outside Pierce Tower.

When the students arrived at the Art Institute via the Green Line, they split up to see different exhibitions. Those who didn’t have to return to campus for another meeting later found one another in the lower-level photography galleries, observing A View with a Room: Abelardo Morell’s Camera Obscura Photographs. The premise of the exhibit is that any room can be used as a camera obscura (Latin for “dark room”), or any light-tight chamber with a small hole, through which external light can enter. Photographer Abelardo Morell converts rooms into camera obscuras by darkening the windows and creating a small hole in one. The scene outside becomes inversely projected in the interior, across whatever is inside the room. Thus viewers can see upside-down images of the Empire State Building, for example, made curvy by upholstery or bedsheet wrinkles—an effect captivating enough to charge the first-years’ El-ride conversation all the way back to Hyde Park.

Elizabeth Goetz, ’08

Photo: In front of the Art Institute.

September 26, 2005