• The Area
    David Schalliol
    David Schalliol

David Schalliol, a demolition in The Area, 2012, Chicago, IL.

Popular discourse about commodity movements often obscures how the built environment is constructed to meet production and transportation demands. Few cities know the effects of these systems as well as Chicago, where geographic location and railroad development fueled its nineteenth-century expansion—and created new problems with the rise of intermodal shipping and just-in-time business models. In response to these changes, transportation company Norfolk Southern is doubling the size of its South Side 47th Street Terminal by acquiring adjacent properties and displacing more than 400 families. The documentary film The Area (working title) investigates the tangible tensions between residents and the pressures of contemporary transportation policy by following neighbors living on borrowed time, maintaining friendships and traditions while struggling with new problems in their vanishing community. In so doing, the film demonstrates how institutional actors and informal actions collide to (re)produce place through simultaneous acts of creation and destruction.

David Schalliol is a PhD candidate in the University of Chicago's Department of Sociology who explores the transformation of urban centers through hybrid ethnographic, filmic, and photographic projects. His writing and photographs have appeared in such publications as the American Sociologist, Design Observer, and Revue Gest, as well as in numerous exhibitions, including the inaugural Belfast, Northern Ireland Photo Festival and the Museum of Contemporary Photography's Midwest Photographers Project. The Japanese publisher Utakatado released his first book Isolated Building Studies, in February 2014. Schalliol contributed to Highrise: Out My Window, an interactive documentary that won the 2011 International Digital Emmy for Non-Fiction. His current film project was recently included in the Kartemquin Films/Tribeca Film Institute Tribeca Hacks Program.