I am in the planetarium, the house lights have dimmed, the crowd has silenced itself, the sky is also dimming, revealing a 360-degree ring of Chicago skyline. The show is about to begin: overhead planets and stars in fast motion will reveal their deeper truths, truths unseen when we watch in real time.
But also revealed to me for the first time—I was about 10 years old—was one of the truths of my home town: buildings, mostly sealed against me, each housing many people, some working in their offices and factories, some living in their homes, all these structures cascading across the horizon, visible to me for the first time, thanks to the projected image.
Is this really where I live? In a metropolis filled with nearly 4 million people? I knew then perhaps 30 people of the 4 million—father, mother, sister, a few cousins, two sets of uncles and aunts, one set of grandparents, some friends, a few teachers, the mailman, the cleaning lady, the priest, these last 3 only marginally. Out of 4 million neighbors this is a slender minority.
Such is one type of urban landscape: human constructions holding invisible and unknown people.