Image Correspondence #1

Episode #29 is a great piece by producer Katie Mingle about the cul de sac. It was released June 16, 2011. As many of you know, Katie is 99% Invisible’s newest producer to join the team.

Kate_Joyce_WEB_Cul_de_sac_Chicago_2013Credit: Kate Joyce Cul de sac, Chicago, Illinois, 2013 (click to enlarge)

I grew up on the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico on dirt roads with rural route numbers for addresses. I had one friend though, who lived on a cul de sac in a bonafide neighborhood and I thought it was amazing.

Flying into and out of Midway Airport you hover very close to Chicago’s south side neighborhoods. This first photograph comes from our descent onto a runway at Midway. I’m interested in the image because it shows the cul de sac as that “coddled and sheltered asphalt womb”, as Katie calls it, where the neighborhood ends and the railway begins. The show also talks about the classic movie E.T. Flying over the roofs of houses will probably always be a timeless experience full of imagination, longing and escape.

Kate_Joyce_WEB_Pink_curtain_Minooka_2009Credit: Kate Joyce Pink curtain, Minooka, Illinois, 2009 (click to enlarge)

The second photograph is from a subdivision in a small town called Minooka, IL. In the photograph, a mother is peering out of an upstairs bedroom window, yelling down to children playing in the street below. The window is draped in a pink curtain or sheet. I imagine she’s in the children’s room. There are two teenagers in the scene, one talking on the phone and the other dressed in black. Three younger kids are circling on bicycles. I made the photograph from across a drainage field at a newly built high school. This is the epitome of the suburb. It is a facade. The kids do rule the street. And I’m left thinking about something that’s brought up at the end of the episode about designing neighborhoods around the needs of 5-10 year olds.


Kate Joyce is a Chicago based artist, architectural photographer, and the first image correspondent for 99% Invisible. Every two weeks, Joyce will release new and original work for specific episodes. She’ll also comb through her archive to find previously made photographs that are already in thematic conversation with current and past episodes. “I’m curious to see how audio will shape image and image will shape audio and what that will mean to telling stories about design over time,” Joyce says.

Now You See It is a project of 99% Invisible. Our intent is to create a public dialogue by offering our listeners a new way to interact with our show, as well as their own immediate environment. The project includes the Image Correspondent Residency and ongoing photo assignments for listeners. We want to get people out in the world engaging with our program, the built environment and photography. The images will have their own editorial arc, playing on themes that surface in our shows and leading us to new shows. This project came to us from the listeners and is a natural extension of our mission at 99% Invisible. It’s the next step in turning 99% Invisible from a radio show into a lens for viewing the world. Our first assignment will be posted soon, so stay tuned.

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