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Plowing the streets of Chicago and making art.

By Uncategorized

Guy Eytan makes art in the streets of Chicago.

Illustration by Berke Yazicioglu.

7 hours. 

Michigan north, till end. Clark, Lake View up to Lawrence, and back down. Wells bridge was closed, went on La Salle.

I will start by saying that before the next walk, I need to get walking shoes. My feet are killing me.

It was cold, but a beautiful day. Walked close to the lake, yet almost no sun. cold as hell. An old lady stopped me and asked what I was doing, told her it was an art project. When explained about it, she said that it was a good winter to do it in, since in any other winter I would either freeze to death or get stuck in the snow drift. I just started, so maybe the snow drift is still to come. An elderly gentleman in the entrance to a hospital asked me what I was doing. When I told him he was amused. Said: “In New York, nobody would have bothered asking you or thinking about something like that. I wish I had my camera.” After a while a man with a binder under his left arm walked by me. He asked if I was making street music. I think that was the nicest term one can call dragging metal on the ground, but he liked the sound. So I guess it is music. He said I should make a website for this. The greatest encounter of them all was two cops on bicycles that stopped me. Inquired what I was doing. When I said it was an art project they wanted to see an ID that I’m in school. I gave them my Artic card, even though I was wondering what was I doing wrong. And is there any law broken by dragging rakes on the ground. Maybe they thought I was in some drug-induced stupor. (If I was, maybe my legs wouldn’t hurt so much.) They kept exclaiming how weird that act is, and I should expect to get asked again. I said I understand and didn’t care about it, I thanked them as they went on their bikes, and everyone was on their merry ways. The last person was someone who waited with me for a green light. When I said it was an art project he asked, “What does it do?”

“Nothing, the project is me walking with the rakes all the streets of chicago.”

“That’s interesting. I never heard of anything like that before.”

I didn’t think the correct response is that I am afraid that it is so overused that I am trite and idiotic. So I just said “thank you”.

A few things I realized this time. The first and foremost is that I need better shoes. The second is that I didn’t think about peeing. I need to buy shoes before the next time I walk for sure.

7.5 hours.

State St. south till 63rd, Wabash north till Delaware, south on Rush.

Still cold. There are less parks on the South Side. Less people than in the “magnificent mile.”

Three kids, the oldest one twelve at the most, had a little dog that was more energetic than them. They followed my movement from across the street, I tried to seem approachable in the hope that they will say something. The older one finally shouts: “You’ve got rakes!” all I could think to answer back is a very happy “YES!” The conversation ended there. A long time passed and a man smoking a cigarette outside an auto parts shop asked me what I was doing. I answered that it was an art work and I plan to walk the entire city. He asked how long will it take. I had, and still have, no idea how long it will take. “Longer than I can imagine”.

“That’s nice, it will be faster by car.”

“Yes, but I will not know chicago by car.”


He finished his cigarette and went inside. (No wonder it is god fucking freezing.) A lot of parking lots, some even full of cars, the only people around run to or from them. Again I’ll reiterate — it’s cold. And today is not a nice day. I would like to say something poetic like the sky was hanging low, but it just looks grey and miserable and not even romantic foggy, just urban grayish with fake sun.

In the north side of Wabash two police people are riding bikes and wave at me, they pass too fast for me to recognize if they are the same ones, but I try to wave back. I realize that I haven’t taken my hands out of my pockets for a few hours and the sudden jolt throws away my shoulders, reverberating through the body. My feet are in pain, I now realize. It’s not as bad and the day is almost done.

At least my shoes are better. And I didn’t get arrested.

7 hours.

Michigan south till 63rd. East to Indiana. North till 25. East till Martin Luther King Dr. North till Cermak. West till Indiana again. North till Roosevelt. East till Columbus drive. North till the river, east till Michigan and back to the starting point.

Cold and grey, not very exciting.

Columbus drive is amazingly loud. There was something weird passing so close to the school. I expected people to talk to me. It didn’t really happen. Got lost in thought, the walk felt so much shorter due to this.

I held it in for a long while as I was going on Columbus drive. When I reached the school I took a break and went to the bathroom inside of it. There was something weird with the stopping in the middle to go to pee. I don’t think I would do it again. (Yes, I do hate to pee outside. I think it’s disgusting and all that, but the break of it when I went inside the school was almost too much to bear. I need to find a solution.)

And I need the temperature to be above freezing.

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