Kai M. Caemmerer is an artist living and working in Chicago, IL. He received his BA in photography from Western Washington University and is currently pursuing his MFA from Columbia College Chicago. Today we share his body of work Sites.
This work explores the structures and development of the city, and 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. Emphasizing the city’s feats of material and technology, these photographs locate the sublime within a more contemporary landscape, one whose architectural facades render the natural as incidental and whose uncertain parameters describe the disquieting complexity and scale of the city.
This work hopes to locate 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 become.
To view more of Kai’s work, please visit his website.