Killing Season Chicago

Killing Season Chicago is a data driven installation comprised of photographs from the 172 homicide sites in the City of Chicago between Memorial Day and Labor Day in the summer of 2010.

Beginning on Memorial Day and ending on Labor Day of 2010, I tracked the homicides within the city limits of Chicago. Once the crime scenes were processed and the red tape was taken down, I visited and photographed the site of each murder. There were 172 homicides within that time period of roughly 3 months. The resulting physical piece is a 65-foot long installation of the photographs against a caution-orange background placed in a chronological graph. The form draws attention to the homicides and their frequency in a schematic way. Moving left to right in the piece, there is one column for each day the project spans. Stacked photographs in each column reflect the number of homicides that day as well as document each crime scene. From afar, the arrangement mimics a city skyline and begs the viewer to consider whether this violence is part of the fabric of the urban environment. The sheer number of images coupled with their small size (5.5” x 8.25” and 5.5” x 3.67”) forces the viewer to come in and take a closer look. What they find are quiet, peopleless images of sites that all look vaguely familiar; sidewalks in front of two-flats, garages in back alleys, gangways, playgrounds and street corners. They will also find is the occasional scraps of red or yellow tape, RIPs scrawled on walls, piles of stuffed animals, impeccably arranged empty liquor bottles and a metal cross nailed to a tree. These small clues indicate that these are not just arbitrary locations, but the settings of murders. The work asks the viewer to come to their own conclusions and has proven to engage the public in thoughtful conversations about violence in Chicago and in our culture as a whole.

Explore the Killing Season Chicago interactive website to see the images, maps, and stories behind the project.

See a digital rendering of the installation and sample images here