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The Pole
Kim, Jung Soo
Aluminum, Acrylic
12 x 12 

Two years ago, as a newcomer to the United States, I frequently encountered a striking scene on the streets of Chicago. Poles wrapped with flowers, photos, and notes seemed like gifts left behind by tourists, offering delightful discoveries for an outsider like me. It wasn't until later that I learned these tributes were in memory of victims lost to gun violence or tragic accidents, transforming my perception of these poles into deeply significant monuments throughout the city.

In early 2024, another young life was tragically lost on N Wabash Ave, and once again, a pole—adorned with flowers, photographs, and handwritten notes—appeared. Sadly, the harsh February weather with its cold and wind hastened the wilting of flowers, the disappearance of photos, and the scattering of sticky notes, confronting me with the violence pervading this city more closely.

The pole I first met in Chicago at 2022 (Photo in April,2024)

We continue to encounter these memorials, ephemeral yet recurrent, across the cityscape. They emerge and vanish, marking the spots where lives were lost. Living amidst these spaces prompts a profound question: how should we, as a community, engage with these memorials? These poles, while serving as poignant reminders of loss, also foster a connection among us, urging a collective reflection on the violence that shadows our daily lives.