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Photographer's Note

For superficial people, the art needs to be deep to force them to think. There are however people who are deep by nature and they prefer the art to be entertaining. This modern sculpture in the Millennium Park, Chicago may satisfy both these groups. I believe I prefer the entertaining aspect of the art. That is why I have spent more than hour around THE BEAN and I just did not want to leave at all. It is beautiful, it is surprising, it is fun, it is however not clean as everybody apparently tries to get here in personal touch with the art.

In this photograph you see a group of young people trying to spell something in the reflection of The Bean. What are they trying to say? No idea. It seems like “IO” or “10” to me. I have noticed they have all bags from same travel company. They surely have fun. And they make an interesting foreground. If you know what they mean, please share it here with us.

HOW I GOT THERE
I had 6 hours to change planes at Chicago airport. I was really tempted to have at least a short glimpse at this city which I have never visited before. Fortunately for me, all the checkups usually performed after an international plane lands in the US were performed already at the modern terminal of Dublin Airport. US Immigration took our fingerprints and photographs in Dublin already so in Chicago we were treated as a domestic flight already. This saved us at least one hour. Fortunately for us the terminal where we arrived was the same terminal where the Chicago’s subway station was located. The biggest problem we have experienced was figuring out how to buy a ticket. The information was very confusing. People were running around several vending machines desperately looking for somebody who knows how to use it. There was one subway worker there but he was not in the mood to help us. In the end we figured we need some change to buy special cards which we can afterwards charge. You have to buy the cards with the cash and no rest change is given, but you can later charge the cards with the credit cards. Where can you get change: go all the way back to the terminal... Anyway I have visited many foreign cities: this was the first one I had trouble to buy a ticket.
When you already get the ticket: it is cheap and quick to get to the city center. I was dreaming about visiting one of the viewpoints like Sears Tower or Hancock Tower but I heard there are extremely long waiting lines there. Anyway skyscrapers were covered in the dense fog. Millenium park was a great option as it is just few blocks walk from the subway station and the subway guarantees that you won’t get stuck in traffic.

ABOUT THE SCULPTURE
Cloud Gate is a public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor. It is the centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park within the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois, United States. Constructed between 2004 and 2006, the sculpture is nicknamed "The Bean" because of its bean-like shape. Made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together, its highly polished exterior has no visible seams. It is 33 by 66 by 42 feet (10 by 20 by 13 m), and weighs 110 short tons (100 t; 98 long tons). Kapoor's design was inspired by liquid mercury and the sculpture's surface reflects and distorts the city's skyline. Visitors are able to walk around and under Cloud Gate's 12-foot (3.7 m) high arch. On the underside is the "omphalos" (Greek for "navel"), a concave chamber that warps and multiplies reflections. The sculpture builds upon many of Kapoor's artistic themes, and is popular with tourists as a photo-taking opportunity for its unique reflective properties.

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Additional Photos by Mariusz Kamionka (mkamionka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2847 W: 95 N: 7043] (29529)
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