Legume Made of Mercury by Zak Arctander in Chicago, Illinois, USA

The Bean is amazing. It looks like a legume made of mercury and is highly reflective. Under The Bean people bump into each other and try to find themselves in the metallic folds. Almost everyone is friendly. It is the sixth most photographed landmark in the world and like a funhouse mirror it slurs your image into something less solid. I once saw a child vomit a sugary red liquid and the security guard kept everyone away.

Name:Zak Arctander

Place you live: Chicago, IL (Humboldt Park)

Place your photo was taken: Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate (AKA “The Bean”) in Chicago’s Millennium Park.

Can you sum up Chicago? Right now Chicago is cold and mostly gray so I am pretty down on it. In the winter a layer of rock salt covers all objects and dampens most color. What’s sad is that you get used to the desaturation. Freshly washed cars cruise through this grayscape with a vibrancy that feels downright scary.

Occupation: Artist Guide at the Museum of Contemporary Art

Preoccupation: King of the Hill

A perfect day in Chicago? In the summer my favorite thing to do is swim off the rocks at Promontory Point in Hyde Park. There aren’t any lifeguards and it’s the only place where you can go deeper than your waist without getting yelled at.

If someone was visiting, what must they do? Touch the belly of The Bean.

A perfect meal in Chicago? A slice of pizza and a soda at Bacci’s. I recommend getting a side of their hot sauce.

What is the best thing about your spot? It can feel extremely communal.

What is the worst? I don’t think you can get inside of it.

A little known fact about where you live? There is a Taco Bell at Clybourn and Wrightwood, across from the Aldi.

Where is your favorite place in the world? The American Southwest.

Who are your three favorite photographers? Mark SteinmetzHenry WesselTammy Mercure