About this project
Can a piece of Chicago's infrastructure be the epicenter of a public art revolution? Yes, and you can be a part of it!
The Wabash Lights is a site-specific light installation on the underside of the Wabash Avenue elevated train tracks in Chicago’s loop. This proposed work of public art will incorporate over 5,000 programmable LED light tubes to transform an iconic piece of Chicago infrastructure into a canvas for a dynamic, interactive experience, serving as a catalyst for a re-energized Wabash Avenue.
The Wabash Lights are where we are heading, but right now we are doing this kickstarter for a small test of the lights. This kickstarter is for the Beta Test.
Working with the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Department of Transportation, and City Government, we have received approval to install a small section of lights on the Wabash Ave tracks to troubleshoot design, interactivity, and test how vibration from the "L", temperature changes, and the wear and tear of the city affect our hardware.
We are calling this phase the Beta Test. Your donations will help fund this initial round of testing.
Once the Beta Test has been installed, we will begin a capital fundraising campaign with a goal of $5,000,000 in private, foundation, and corporate dollars.
Your support of the Beta Test proves to the city of Chicago (and our future donors) that the public wants The Wabash Lights.
We are Kickstarting this project because it's important to us that The Wabash Lights be seeded by the public. Public art is often created by one, paid for by few, but meant for everyone. We want to reverse that notion and bring the voice of the public into our project as donors and also designers.
The light fixtures we’re using are easily programmable and infinitely customizable with each light tube controllable down to every 1.2 inches. People like to you will be able to program different sections of The Wabash Lights via a user-friendly website or mobile app. The result will be a transformation of public infrastructure into a canvas of light for any person, anywhere, to use as a vehicle for expression.
Anyone with access to a computer or smart phone will be able to design how The Wabash Lights illuminate, whether they are a student, a senior citizen, or a renowned artist – this work of art will be the first to be created and continually re-designed by the public.
Some rewards are intangible like our love for you, or the feeling of freedom after escaping from prison (so we've been told). Some are tangible - like these:
THE DESIGN CHARETTE:
THE ARTIST'S DINNER @ 42 GRAMS:
What better place to stage a massive public art project than on a train line that thousands of people use every day?
For most people visiting or living in Chicago, Wabash Avenue in the Loop is a dark, noisy, sometimes scary place to either avoid or walk quickly through. Positioned between the history of State Street and the futuristic playground of Millennium Park, Wabash Avenue is an underutilized resource in the city for art, culture, and business.
The Wabash Lights will bring life and awareness to the largely neglected strip of Wabash Avenue. Creating this new destination in the heart of the Loop will increase tourism and encourage the growth of local business.
The elevated train tracks are a unique part of Chicago that we aim to highlight and celebrate. This public display will inspire the residents of Chicago, boost civic pride and foster a safe, well lit gathering point in the downtown area.
+ Revitalize a historic Chicago district
+ Highlight the unique and authentic character of Chicago
+ Beautify the "L"
+ Create a new destination in the Chicago Loop
+ Broaden the profile of annual visitors to Chicago
+ Boost tourism+ attract new and retain existing businesses
+ Celebrate infrastructure
+ Promote Chicago as a global destination
+ Boost civic pride
+ Re-define public art
+ Foster a safe, well lit downtown
Risks and challenges
The whole point of this Beta Test of The Wabash Lights is to troubleshoot the challenges before we go all out for the full installation.
Some of the specific challenges we will be addressing in this test are:
1. How the vibrations of the "L" tracks will effect the lights and power of The Wabash Lights: These LED lights have already been installed on bridges, buildings, and interiors. In addition to aesthetic reasons for choosing these lights, we have opted for them because they are robust fixtures that can withstand a beating.
2. How will the lights handle Chicago weather: The Beta Test will have the lights up for the end of Winter and Spring to see how they handle the changing of the seasons: from brutally cold to wet and warm.
3. How will the lights interact with traffic: Wabash Ave is a public way and we are incredibly sensitive to that fact. These lights are infinitely programmable, so part of this will be to safely test lighting designs that do not affect drivers or pedestrians.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
- (32 days)