The Cyclopean Ellipsoid

In early spring of 1999, EE members set out to find a special ceremonial site amongst the hard urban landscape for summer activities. We found a powerful geomantic site near Chicago's unknown 12th street beach, with the Planetarium on one side and Meigs Field on the other. "Cyclopean" means to build with boulders. "Ellipsoid" is the strongest geometrical solid.

From the discarded rubble from various Chicago World's Fairs (and fire!), EE started to haul out bags of mortar to the site, to mix with the abundant water and sand and form strong cement. The sculpture took 15 bags of mortar, hundreds of architectural stones-fragments, and two months to build. The dome was never realized, although the height acheived well over six feet. It escaped the notice of Chicago Police and Park District authorities until the night after these photos were taken. Only the foundation of the structure, located on the south end of the 12th street beach, remains. Go there and add to it.

During its short life, the Cyclopean Ellipsoid was host to two full-moon drum circles and numerous gatherings. The lifeguards, beach officials and even the police liked it and gathered there. When the beach was shut down due to bacteria, strange men dressed in white lab coats felt that the structure was a nuisance.

Photos by Bret Lortie except where noted.

Locals decorated the Ellipsoid, like here on the column and lentil entrance. It became an interactive piece of architecture.
From the entrance you can see the
Adler Planetarium across the cove.
Planets, the moon, and land points were integrated through window alignments within the structure
Ornaments from Old Chicago can be seen in the form of column bases here. Amazingly detailed architectural fragments were dumped here to make a breakwall. A full Roman column still exists from the 1898 Columbian Exhibition, (its still submerged)!
The hands of many participated in the building, TJ (in background) and MYS Smith were the ellipsoid's principle architects, expecially when it came to precise mathematical and geomantical details. Those stones were so heavy that they needed six or seven EE'ers to lift..

Photo provided by Quentin Shaw
Mike and Rachelle enjoy the inside of the ellipsoid.
It was about fifteen to twenty feet in diameter at its base. Fires were shielded from the Lake's elements, and nice and cosy. Here the photographer was standing on the top of the wall.
...while Whitey and others enjoy drumming out the full moon. Fire twirling, singing and drumming were quite a spectacle.
Mike and Quentin at sunset.
Charlie and an observer.

TJ mixing cement after spending the night and fasting at the site. TJ experience thousands of little gnome like creatures lifting him and carrying him to an amazing underwater pyramid complex.


...and then starting the first fire.
Drumming continues into the night. You can't really see the drummers, but they're there. Actually the ellipsoid looks like a reflection, look closely.
with Chicago in the background. recognize the Sears Tower? This is one of Bret's "art shots"
Hours after everyone went home, the sculpture was destroyed by mysterious Chicago authorities. EE laughed and cried.

Photo provided by Quentin Shaw, seen in Jalaba here.
New photos from Darwin Stevens collection, added May 2002
The entrance way.
Helicopter landing at Miegs?, or ceo's wishing they could join in the fun?
We thought the cyclopian ellipsoid would outlast the Sears.
At one point we reached the six foot tall mark, and above!
Mike Smith, Darwin Stevens and Carmelina all work hard to lift heavy stones from teh 1893 and 1933 World's Fairs.
The World's Fairs of 1893 and 1933 were amazing, and stood right here. Look into their history, come to the ellipsoid and see it!
A small fire, drum circle, stars, and a primitive structure. We feel at ease.
Our function? To turn historic rubble into a rock garden and meditational spot.

You want to join in? Lets go.


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