Monday, 6 February 2012


Look! It's The Bean, or rather Anish Kapore's "Cloud Gate" sculpture to use it's proper title. But let's be honest, it looks like a bean. A BEAN FROM OUTER SPACE! Some kind of spaceship bean from an alien bean planet. Bean.

The sculpture is actually pretty stunning. It's a chromed form, so all you see is a distortion of what's around you - which in this case is the Chicago skyline, so the results are bound to be good. I haven't mentioned it on this blog before, but I've seen it every weekend or so when kicking about downtown. It is held in pretty high regard by Chicagans, and I can see why. It's endlessly interesting.

It reflects our surroundings back at us, but with a distortion which makes them new and fascinating. I guess a similar effect is looking at a close friend in a mirror, seeing them reversed is familiar, but also alarmingly odd. Try it, the effect is weird. We become so used to looking at people and things that we stop really looking. we have an idea of what things look like, but no reason to question that or reconsider. When we see something seriously wrong our brain goes "Whoa!" and is forced to reassess the situation. The Bean plays a similar trick on us. We see the everyday buildings, but twisted into new unfamiliar shapes.

We don't just really go to see the bean, but our lives in a new and interesting setting - to reset our brain for looking again.


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