I admit, last time I wrote that a political figure was at The Bridgeport Arts Center it was mostly a rouse. This time I’m like the boy who cried wolf because President Obama really was campaigning at The Bridgeport Arts Center; home of the Sarah Palin BBQ pit and the location of Maritima, Diana’s installation from May. The left side of this first screencap, from WGN, shows one of the wooden columns that we spent hours hammering into and tying strings to. It wasn’t the easiest surface to work with but this photo makes me to happy to have spent so much time with it.
Bridgeport is a bold place for The President to visit because it was at the center of a small controversy during the N.A.T.O. Summit / the very short period that Maritima existed. Some protesters from out-of-state came to Chicago with the intent of firebombing Obama’s campaign headquarters. That’s the way the Chicago Tribune reported it. By the time this article ran, Kevin Gostola: Viva Doc Alumn and one of the leading experts on WikiLeaks/Julian Assange/Bradley Manning, had been reporting a different story for 2 days.
While the Emmanuel machine fed us the story of a terrorist attack being thwarted, many on the street level were watching a big brother nightmare play out where police came into a private residence with a late and unsigned warrant to arrest 8 anti-war protesters. The incendiary devices that police confiscated turned out to be home-brewed beer but CPD sent a powerful message to anyone that was on the fence about participating in The Chicago Spring.
I honestly never knew much about Bridgeport, IL before Diana’s installation and I wouldn’t have noticed this visit by the president or the NATO Raid story if it hadn’t been for Apparitions and Constructions. President Obama’s visit to Bridgeport reminded me, young voter, about a short time when our city was under big brother lock-down. It’s a scary notion that the change can come about at a moments notice and always for the protection of our own citizens. Our role in allowing Big Brother to take over isn’t passive though. Like most evils, we’ll ask for it and probably demand our right to keep it.
Sound ridiculous? Look at the photos again because they’re a mirror into how Big Brother came about. Blue-light cameras were for our safety, we truly needed those. Cameras at the I-Pass made things easy and convenient, I signed on. Red-light cameras increase local revenue, I contest those tickets but the townships insist they’re necessary. Rahm Emmanuel approved speeding cameras to protect your children in school zones, hard to dispute that. A camera in the pocket of every man, woman and child is our last defense, if used correctly. If not, “it’s just another brick in the wall.”
Maritima was inspired by a moment in Diana’s youth when she nearly drowned in an undertow. It’s about succumbing to a force larger than yourself and embracing the inevitability of what’s surrounding you. I’m still debating whether I’m ready to accept what’s coming, or already here.
Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you’re always afraid. Step out of line, men come and take you away. – S.Stills