Copyright © 2011 - 2019, Walker Thisted
Site: location of the former Hawthorne Works Western Electric Plant
Medium: acrylic, paper, graphite, pigment, photographic prints, plaster, fabric, and wood
Date: June 2013
Description: Intrigued by the changing use of land at the edges of Chicago, I set out to investigate the corridor along Cicero Avenue. In doing so, I discovered what remained of the Hawthorne Works. The work that resulted is a memorial to The Works. It is comprised of historic images juxtaposed with images of what the works have become – a sprawling shopping mall occupied by dollar stores, a grocery store, sport apparel stores, health care clinics, a cinema, fast food chains, a pan-Asian buffet, a fabric store, and a Menards. In creating these works, my interest is in how the ground condition was transformed after the demolition of the Hawthorne Works Buildings. I am concerned with how the activities taking place on the site have evolved from manufacturing to consuming products within a shopping mall. The final form that the work has taken creates a new territory in which memories of the past and present can meet. The division of the various pieces into segments creates room for different modes of narration to occur. The structure holding these regions together propels the unfolding story. The result is a work that is stable and yet not at rest. Through this motion, the structure might support an idea of how to see entities such as the Hawthorne Works in the future.