Largest Permanent Public Art Projection Shines in Chicago


Public art is an area of culture that has seen exponential growth as the possibilities multiply alongside the digital revolution. The latest example comes from Chicago and just so happens to now be the largest permanent digital art installation in the world. Using the massive art deco architecture of the Merchandise Mart building along the Chicago River as a 2.5-acre, after-hours canvas, 35 individual projectors shine 1 million lumens to create Art on theMART — a collection of vivid and sometimes surreal video art and vibrant color with a soundtrack that includes everything from experimental jazz to atmospheric noise.

Obscura Digital, the company behind the Guggenheim Museum and Sydney Opera House projections, brought this technical feat to fruition while Chicago architecture firm Valerio Dewalt Train Associates handled other logistics. The contributing artists include Zheng Chongbin, Jason Salavon, Diana Thater and Jan Tichy, and Art on theMart will continue to run for two hours a night and five days a week for 10 months out of the year (March through December).

See the video below, and thanks to Joel McFarlin for posting the entire 35-minute grand opening launch party and its pyrotechnic climax from September 29, 2018 on YouTube as well as setting the scene quite nicely, but skip to 1:27 if you want to get right to the projection mapping.

About Author

Jason Kushner is a videographer, editor, writer and filmmaker living in the Greater Atlanta Area. With an educational background combining film and journalism, Kushner has shot video and written for a myriad of publications and multimedia projects including Creative Loafing Tampa,, Starline Films and Digital Signage Connection. His 2009 documentary American Colonies: Collapse of the Bee became an Official Selection at 12 international film festivals, won Best Documentary at the 2009 Central Florida Film Festival and a John Muir Gold Award at the 2009 Yosemite Film Festival.  In 2015, he became Digital Media Editor for Digital Signage Expo, LightShow West and LED Specifier Summit and has since become Digital Content Manager for those shows’ parent company, Exponation.

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