CHICAGO CARLESS in Chicago Tribune on Crown Fountain Cameras


(Photo: The City of Chicago has architecturally defaced Millennium Park’s Crown Fountain in the name of homeland security. What do you think about that? Credit: Looper.)

Our photoblogging walks just keep paying off. Last August, my walk through the new Macy’s on State Street with a camera and resulting blogpost led to the citywide scandal over Macy’s inventing street names on its store signage.

Last weekend’s photo walk with Devyn ended similarly. Walking through Millennium Park, D. and I were horrified to notice newly installed security cameras sitting directly atop Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain, turning the vast, video faces of Chicagoans into grinning Martians with pointy, black antennae sticking out of their heads.

Devyn snapped photos for his Looper blog. I blogged about the offending cameras here on Chicago Carless. And then Devyn emailed Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin.

And exactly three minutes later, Blair emailed us back.

By the end of the next hour, we were interviewed by the Trib. And today, the paper features the offending Crown Fountain cameras in a juicy, Devyn and Michael quote-laden, go give ’em what-for Tribune article.

According to park managers quoted in today’s article, as many have guessed, the cameras were installed as part of a homeland-security project and put atop Crown Fountain because it was the easiest option. Permanent cameras will be placed atop a new pole to be installed east of the fountain. But not until next summer.

Lucky us. Chicago art (and park) lovers will be stuck with these ugly, inappropriate, frankly municipally embarrassing head stalks for the better part of the next year. I’m fairly certain about this one folks. In the annals of architectural defacement, a dishonorable yet all-too-healthily sized record of woe in the Second City, the Crown Fountain security cameras deserve a special entry all their own. What’s next, security cams atop the Bean?

Convenience is absolutely no excuse–but as an excuse, in this case it doesn’t, er, hold much water. Even in Chicago, it doesn’t take nine months to put up a pole.

The Crown Fountain security cameras are inappropriate and disgraceful. They should be taken down immediately.

(See Afternoon Update: The cameras are history!!!)

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