When the lightrail pulled to a stop and let me off, I found myself not in presence of a marketplace but in midst of an anonymous parking area. Lost in a foreign city, I asked a group of strangers for directions; they pointed to a large stone building in the distance, Midtown illuminated atop.
As I journeyed to my destination placed upon the horizon I saw the people around going about their daily living. They made exchanges, they worked, they were going about life and working to accomplish goals. Each individual was consumed in their own world, their mission, their problems, their emotions. Yet, at the same time, they were undeniably attached to the world around them. The street named Lake gave its people a place in which they could go about their daily tasks, accomplish their missions, and solve their problems; live. In return the people provided life and culture to the area. They depended upon the various shops to complete their tasks. The street and shops depended on them to bring life and attract more people; to keep them alive. They provided and sustained life for each other.
Exchanges were being made all across the market. Exchanges associated with money and business. Exchanges associated with relationships. Exchanges associated with random acts of kindness. These exchanges were encouraged because the atmosphere created by the arrangement of stores within the market was warm and very personal. The layout separated the various vendors distinctly yet still allowed a good flow. The space encouraged one to socialize with others by creating clear pathways mixed with seating and vendors. The mixture of natural and industrial lighting further encouraged exchanges by creating warmth. These exchanges could be further defined as the movement of energy. Thus, the building, its layout, and the atmosphere energized those within, encouraging socialization, exploration, and jubilation.
One specific example in which I found energy, was at a Mexican candy stand. As,I was searching through the candies I struck up a conversation with a young girl, whose father owned the stand. She worked as a translator for her father, who spoke little English. At the check out I was able to speak with her father, the owner, in his native tongue. Our interaction was an example of exchange; the exchange of culture, words, and business. The girl energized me, I energized her father, and he would energize another person. Energy is constantly flowing from one to another in a vast system of exchange.
Furthermore, I discovered energy of the past, energy renewal. Upon leaving the building I glanced back to get another look at the building, discovering that it was at a certain point in time, Sears Roebuck & Co. The building which once gave its community, once again has found a place. This shows the eternal power of energy and exchange. Power can lay dormant for years, and when given the proper encouragement can be brought back to life. This connection to the past could also be found in a footprint in the middle of the market, left by the workers who poured the cement early in the twentieth century. Energy is stored in the work of the past and will forever affect the future. One footprint may change the course of history by starting a chain of exchange and energy.
The market made obvious the different ways energy could be seen, in the direct exchanges between people and place. Energy, however, goes far beyond simple relationships between people and place. It can also be found within a combination of person’s internal forces and environmental circumstance. To the athlete energy is eating a meal high in carbohydrates the night before the big game. To the computer it is the exchange of electrons across a thin copper wire. To Martha Stewart it is creating Christmas ornaments out of leftover prison food. To the Buddhist it is entering nirvana. To the cast of Jackass it is stapling body parts together and seeing the extremes to which their bodies may be taken. To the scientist it is the discovery of a cure. To the flower child of the 70’s it is the aura surrounding oneself. It is power derived from accomplishment, found in the past, or given by another. No matter what condition, it is an exchange between forces, one empowering the other.
Upon entering the market I heard the music of Juanes and found it welcoming to here a familiar tune