Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Below Zero at The Fulton Market

Yellow and orange

Huge white trucks, red lights, forklifts scuttling and bleeping, vehicles backing up. Cold, hustle and grey snow.

Inside a warren of huge refrigerated rooms, each colder than the last. The warmest rooms are the most interesting, with a myriad of textures, stuff and grime. The hallways bustle and bleep with instant motion fork lifts wheezing around corners. A huge load whizzes behind us.

You can get frostbite in this room. Here are the pours from yesterday's work.

Today, we work with yellow.

We stand back as the artist does his work.

Back to the small warm room to thaw. I'm inside a room inside another room. I'm glad I have my cell phone. The walls are ten inches thick. Everything has been neglected for the business at hand: quick, before it thaws. This is cold storage.

My fingers tingle; I'm back into the cold room.

Everybody gets their turn. It feels like we're inside the center of the world. The sense of the massive effort cooperatively made to bring grain and livestock to the rest of the country is palpable. Just around the corner the moving energy of workers and lurching machines on a tight schedule ramps up a sense of drama. This is how America gets fed; it smells like the meat department at the local supermarket. Jaz holds a makeshift light atop a ladder.

Tim mixes, Gord cracks the ice. Everyone looks like a bandit with their scarves and baclavas. We can't stay too much longer,it's just too far below freezing.

We've been at it a little over an hour.

We decamp to the warm room to mix more paint and thaw out. A constant rumbling sound adds to a sense of urgent chaos, huge doors slamming, voices shouting one word orders, against sound piped through an ancient tuner and something which no longer resembles a speaker: the graceful music of The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy. Jaz turns it up.

We discuss the perfect glove: wool inside waterproof rubber. Patrick has found the pants. They insulate, and what a great color for today.


Colleen said...

Hi Caitlin,

Welcome to my hometown! Please let me recommend some great places for you all to dine at and explore while you are here.

Colleen, Canadian Consulate in Chicago

Mary said...

Wow, what an amazing project! The writing and photos really gives a sense of place and effort. Get those rubber suits!

Bernadette said...

Caitlin and Gord,

What a treat for Chicago to have you there and working to show your work. I wish we lived in the area, so we could participate also.
Hugs, Bernie