Looking at Your City Like a Tourist

Calder.RMP.10.5.2016Today may be one of the last nice days before chilly weather sets in, so I got up from my desk and took a morning walk. I work a block from Calder's Flamingo and I totally forgot it was there.

In "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" Walter Benjamin noted that people who live and work in buildings experience them in a distracted manner. You pass through your workplace every day. You know the touch of the elevator buttons, the feel of the door handles, the sounds in the lobby. You don't give much thought to these sensations. Why would you?

A tourist, on the other hand, contemplates a building like it's a work of art. I sat for five minutes in the Federal Building Plaza and saw five or six groups of tourists photographing the sculpture. I took the shot above from the place where moments before a pair of French (or maybe just French-speaking) tourists had taken pictures.  This photograph looks like thousands of other photos of the Calder, but that doesn't matter. It's my photograph, taken on a pleasant morning in October.

Sometimes it's good to look at your city like a tourist.

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