The day has come. With $59,480 in crowdfunded dollars from 918 backers and months of planning with the city, the Wabash Lights project for Wabash Avenue in the Loop has begun its beta installation. Project co-creators Jack Newell and Seth Unger are installing 12 rods of LED tubing under the L tracks on Wabash Avenue. This test will lead to 4,000 feet of LED tubes over two blocks along Madison to Adams). The end result will feature an interactive public art experience that visitors can manipulate using their smartphones.
While their accomplishment is impressive, their work has just begun if they hope to make this a permanent project. To keep the lights on, they need to raise $5 million through traditional capital fundraising. The hope is that private funding sources will see this preview and get inspired to keep the project alive.
In the meantime, though, Newell and Unger are working with app developer Table XI to create programmable, interactive lights for public engagement. For now, the lights will officially turn on this Thursday at 7pm. For the six months to a year, a preprogrammed light sequence will run for about 18 hours a day, to ensure that they can weather the storms of the seasons and the rumble of trains.
·Wabash Lights public art test to begin next week [Chicago Tribune]
·Programmable LED Light Tubes Are Coming to the Wabash L Tracks In January [ChicagoInno]
·Wabash Lights Creators Raise $60K on Kickstarter for Beta [Curbed Chicago]
·Five Questions for Wabash Lights Co-Creators Seth Unger and Jack Newell [Curbed Chicago]
·All previous Wabash Lights coverage [Curbed Chicago]