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Wabash Lights Collaboration + Grant

The Wabash Lights project is working to install Chicago’s first interactive public art platform in the heart of Chicago’s loop. The goal is to create a place where art and technology come together in a canvas of light to foster public discourse and personal expression. We are installing a full block of programmable LED lights on the underside of the Wabash L tracks. You can connect the lights to movements and sounds like your heartbeat, the tap of a drum, or to the rhythm of your favorite song. The result will be a canvas of light for any person, anywhere, to use as a vehicle for expression.

In partnership with DePaul’s school of computing and design, we’ve developed a set of interactive functionalities that enable to public to communicate with the lights. Text the lights a color, or play an interactive game of “Simon” with them. Don’t like the curated light show above? Interrupt it. Whoever’s voice is loudest up above, you have the power to trump it.

Through a DePaul University Collaborative Research and Creative Activities Grant we are developing STEAM (STEM + Arts) curriculum to take the mobile lights demos into classrooms and conduct a series of workshops aligned with Illinois State Learning Standards. In the first workshops, students use the lights to evaluate competing design frameworks and develop a light show or installation. In subsequent workshops, students can connect their designs to the mobile light stations and see their voices, movement, or instruments represented in light.