A Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago and the Visiting Assistant Professor of Social Sciences at the Illinois Institute of Technology, David Schalliol is academically and artistically interested in issues of social stratification and meaning in the social and physical worlds.
In addition to his sociological and photographic activities, David plays an active role on several websites, including his work as managing editor of Gapers Block and founder & editor of metroblossom. If you have any ideas what he should do with theloess.com or mollisols.com, let him know.
via David Schalliol.
The Isolated Building Studies are the visual confluence of my interests in urban dynamism, socioeconomic inequality and photography. By using uniform composition in photographs of Chicago buildings with no neighboring structures, I hope to draw attention to new ways of seeing the common impact of divergent investment processes on urban communities.
Isolated buildings are particularly useful for the exploration of neighborhood transformation and its social correlates because they are immediately recognized as unusual. As urban buildings, their form illustrates their connection with adjacent structures: vertical, boxy, an architecture confined by palpably limited parcels. When their neighboring buildings are missing, a tension emerges: the urban form clashes with the seemingly suburban, even rural setting. Thoughtfully engaging the landscape requires further investigation to resolve this tension: Why is this building isolated? It is from this fundamental friction that the Isolated Building Studies launches.
On one level, the details are helpful. In the case of older structures — which are discernible by their brickwork, ornamentation and often the patina of neglect — we see remnants of previous neighbors: an uneven side wall, an arch that terminates at its apex rather than at the ground, a fence dividing claimed and seemingly unclaimed territory. These physical aspects uniquely illustrate the history of the place as one of construction and, then, near destruction. The polarity is hindered by the survival of the subject building.