Kai M. Caemmerer (b.1988) lives and works in Chicago, IL. His current work explores aspects of urban space and the perpetual development of cities. He received his BA in photography from Western Washington University and will complete his MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago in Spring of 2016. He has received recognition and support from the Stuart R. Abelson Foundation, the People’s Government of Shangrao City, The Luminarts Foundation, and the Dave Bown Projects grant.
This work seeks to raise questions about how the structures and architectural forms in our cities obscure nature and reflect positions of dominion and authority. I photograph these landscapes of steel and concrete in a way that recalls the feelings of immensity and overwhelming power that one would encounter in the sublime landscape paintings of the Romantic era – paintings of ominous scenes in which the forces of nature impose their dominance over the landscape and its people.
The work locates the perpetual growth of the metropolis as a source of cultural anxiety. Where else is the ever-accelerating rush into the future more apparent than in the development and history of urban space? Unwavering structures of poured concrete and steel continuously replace one another, boldly announcing their tenure with an increased footprint or vertical gain, only to become outmoded by the technological advancements of the near future. I am trying to locate this feeling or sense of anxiety within the architecture and shifting space of our cities.
Reducing context and markers of geographical location, the images address the idea of the built environment without being clearly tied to a definitive place or era. By dislocating these photographs from a recognizable reality, I hope to make images that show the city not as it is, but rather as it seems, or as it might be come.
Kai M. Caemmerer