Out the Windows of Cabrini-Green

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 13, 2010 4:40PM

2010_12_13cabrinigreen.jpg The Cabrini-Green housing projects are now part of history, but the lives and memories of hundreds of its former residents continue to bear witness. A few of them are captured most eloquently in a new interactive documentary, Out My Window.

This ingenious 360-degree documentary was created by director Katerina Cizek, and a team including David Schalliol and Brian Ashby. Produced by the always-awesome National Film Board of Canada, it features 49 stories from 13 highrises around the world, from Cabrini-Green to Istanbul. Although the structures of the buildings are superficially similar, the diversity of culture on display is thrilling. The Cabrini-Green segment functions as a kind of elegy, capturing a slice of the multiple generations who have lived there as well as its demolition, but others document how highrises can act as fertile cultural incubators. The Havana sequence, for example, focuses on a certain building known as a hot-house of Cuban hip-hop; because it sits on top of a hill it's able to receive radio transmissions from the U.S., inspiring a whole crew of musicians and performers.

The website is better experienced than described, and we recommend you put on a set of good headphones before you click through. The intricate sound design is truly wonderful.