I found myself observing the city of Chicago a couple of weekends ago. I still couldn’t tell you why I went. The only reason I can think of is that I bought a ticket and decided to use it.
I did whatever I felt like doing from carrying out the uninspiring act of watching a Rom-Com while eating popcorn in bed to visiting the Intuit center where I could take in the reconstruction of Henry Darger’s room and descriptions of his six decade long manifesto like a long drink of something unfamiliar. Neither of these things turned out to be especially stimulating. There’s a chance I won’t even remember doing them ten years from now.
What did light a spark was a sculpture by Lorado Taft at The Art Institute of Chicago called The Solitude of the Soul. I must’ve circled that thing for a solid 20 minutes, churning stories in my mind about what it felt like. I decided that I like it. I like it very much. So much so that I hesitated before looking at the description of the piece in case the sculptor’s intent might ruin what I interpreted. But I wanted to be able to find it again, and so I looked and I read.
Quoted: The figures in this work are only partly freed from the marble, a technique that emphasizes the mass and outline of the stone. Explaining The Solitude of the Soul, Taft wrote, “The thought is the eternally present fact that however closely we may be thrown together by circumstance … we are unknown to each other.”
This wasn’t my first interpretation, but I agreed with it. Now, thinking back on it and the stories that it brings up, I agree with it even more.
Sidenote: I find it offensive when someone claims that they know someone because I don’t think you can ever really know a person any more than you can know the meaning of life.